Name of the victim:
Mr. Ajit Mahato, son of Mukunda Mahato, aged about-30 years, by faith-Hindu, by caste-Schedule caste(Kurmi), residing at village-Golbandi, Police Station-Jhargram, District-West Medinipur, West Bengal, India.
Name of the perpetrators:
- The police personnel of Manikpara Police Camp under Jhargram Police Station and the members of the Joint Force who were involved in the arrest of the victim;
- Mr. Md. Julfikar Molla, Inspector-in-Charge of Jhargram Police Station and also being the Investigating Officer of Jhargram Police Station Case no. 280/2010 dated 18.9.2010.
Place of incident:
At the residence of the victim at village-Golbandi, Police Station-Jhargram, District-West Medinipur, West Bengal.
Date & time of incident:
On 18.9.2010 at about 6.30 am.
The following facts came out during our fact finding that the victim is a folk artist (singer) and for several years he has been presenting songs of an ancient music theme named “Jhumur” which mainly represents the cultural and social background of the people living in jungles particularly in West Bengal. He is a very popular singer and people know him a devoted folk artist.
On 18.9.2010 at about 6.30 am suddenly the police personnel of Manikpara Police Camp under Jhargram Police Station and the members of the Joint Force (it is combined of Para-military forces such as Central Reserve Police (CRP), Border Security Force (BSF), etc and it is operating in the area to curb down the Maoist’s activities) encircled the residence of the victim. At that time the victim was taking bath in the bathroom. The police personnel and the members of the Joint Force entered into his house and ransacked the household articles. The victim was dragged out from the bathroom and arrested. The arresting police personnel neither disclosed any reason for the apprehension of the victim not prepared any “Memo of Arrest” at the time and place of arrest.
The victim immediately after the arrest was taken to Manikpara Police Camp and he was detained there. On that day (18.9.2010) he was not produced before any nearest judicial magistrate. During his detention neither he was told about the reason for his apprehension instead of his repeated requests in this regard nor did he get any chance to meet with his family members.
On the next day i.e. 19.9.2010 at about 10 am he was taken to the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jhargram and detained in the court lock-up. The family members of the victim engaged one advocate for the victim in order to take appropriate step and move in the court for release of the victim from custody. It was then revealed that the victim was implicated in a criminal case vide Jhargram Police Station Case no. 280/2010 dated 18.9.2010 under sections 147(punishment for rioting)/148(Rioting, armed with deadly weapons)/149(every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object)/120B(punishment for criminal conspiracy)/121(waging, or attempt to wage war or abetting waging of war against the Government of India)/121A(conspiracy to commit offences punishable by Section 121 /122(collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war against the Government of India/124(Assaulting President Governor, etc., with intent to compel or restrain the exercise the of any lawful power)/124A(Sedition) of Indian Penal Code and Section 3 & 4 of Explosive Substances Act.
The aforesaid criminal case was slapped on the victim upon a written complaint (First Information Report) received by Jhargram Police Station on 18.9.2010 at 18.40 hours in the letter pad of “Democratic Youth Federation of India”, Lodhasuli Local Committee, Lodhasuli, West Medinipur. The said “Democratic Youth Federation of India”, is a sister organization of the ruling political party i.e. Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal. In gist it was alleged in the said complaint that the victim and several other men being members of Maoist group exploded a land mine at the party office of CPI (M) at Lodhasuli and demolished the same on 12.9.2010 at around 1.00/1.30 hrs.
On 19.9.2010 the victim was later released from custody on bail by strength of the order passed by the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jhargram. The said Judicial Magistrate while passing of the order for release of the victim on bail considered the following facts inter alia into his judicial notice that- (i)the alleged incident as written in the FIR had taken place on 12.9.2010 but the same (FIR) has been lodged in the police station on 18.9.2010; (ii) prima facie the allegation of demolition of the local party office of a political party does not seem to have attracted the offence of waging war; (iii) no seizure was effected from the possession of the accused (victim) which can prima facie loose out him out in the offence under section 3 & 4 of Explosive Substance Act.
The victim in writing confirmed before our fact finding team that he was arrested on 18.9.2010 in the morning at about 6.30 am. The time of arrest was also corroborated by the other eye witnesses of that locality. But the complaint (FIR) as stated above against the victim and other men was received by the police of Jhargram Police Station on 18.9.2010 at 18.40 hours upon which the police started Jhargram Police Station Case no. 280/2010 dated 18.9.2010. It is therefore clear that the police arrested the victim without having any definite charge against him at the time of his arrest and later implicated him in a criminal case upon a complaint which is politically motivated and manufactured to relate the victim with Maoist activities. Mr. Ajit Mahato is very well known figure in the area for his concrete opinion against annihilation policy carried out by the Maoists.
This incident clearly points at the unholy nexus between the police and criminal elements of the ruling political party to give effect to their immoral gain and harass the innocent people for the sake of their vested interest.
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha(MASUM)
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org