Volume 7, No. 3, March. 2006


Calls to Release Political Prisoners - Reports


The After a long time, on 29th December 2005, the city of Kolkata was witness to a lively procession in support of the long-standing demand for the release of political prisoners who are still languishing in the different jails of West Bengal. These include top Maoist leaders like PB member Com. Sushil Roy (Barun, Shome), CC member Com. Patit Pawan Haldar (Tapas) and SC member Com Chandi Sarkar. The procession started from College Square, went to Sealdah, crossed the fly-over, and then took S.N.Banerjee Road to reach Esplanade East. The total number of people who joined totalled something above 1500. It was impressive not because of the total number of people, but because of its composition. In fact, people from different strands of life and organizations—those who had never joined or were not called upon to join the Bandi Mukti Committee earlier, came to the fore to raise their democratic voice in support of the release of those who sacrificed a lot either to bring about a better social order or to improve the condition of the people of their nationalities. Besides various Naxalite organizations, National Alliance for Peoples’ Movement, APDR, RYL,AISA, which normally join such efforts, a large number of new organizations also joined hands. The Madrasa Students’ Union, Hawker Sangram Committee, Gana Unnayan O Jana-Adhikar Sabgram Samiti, Nepali Jana-Adhikar Suraksha Samiti(Bharat), Anagrasar Muslim Samaj and others. People came from different districts including North Bengal.
First the memorandum to be submitted to the governor of West Bengal was read out in its original English version and then rendered into Bengali. The speakers from the new organizations were mainly invited to speak and they highlighted the different forms of state terrorism that are being resorted to by the West Bengal police force. Those who sat on the dais were members of the prisoners’ families. A team of 5 members went to Raj Bhawan to talk to the governor and hand over the memorandum. Such a movement created enthusiasm among the people who crowded on both sides of the streets as the procession passed by with participants shouting slogans. One could expect civil rights movements of different types in the days to come. The BMC circulated copies of the Memorandum among the media-persons. We have got a copy of it and are reproducing it, as that would give our readers some idea of what type of state terrorism is being pursued in WB under the ‘more developed’ left-front government.
Besides this we also produce a copy of the PUCL (People’s Union of Civil Liberties) Report on the incarceration and inhuman treatment meted out to political prisoners. Ironically all such atrocities is not going on in merely the BJP/Congresss-ruled states, but under the so-called left front government led by the CPM. These two reports bring out glaringly the extent of the brutalities being perpetuated by the CPM, with little difference from what is going on in the rest of the country. In Some cases it is even more widespread due to the CPM using its wide cadre base as a mafia force and for setting up an extensive police-informer network:

Memorandum of the Bandi Mukti Committee submitted to the Governor of West Bengal on 29 December 2005:

It is a matter of deep concern to us that for the last four years and more, the Government of West Bengal has been pursuing a policy of ruthless state repression against their political opponents such as the ‘Maoists’, ‘Kamtapuris’, SIMI activists and others and arrested and tortured about two thousand and five hundred people, most of whom are poor villagers, on the charge of their supposed association with those parties. It is pertinent to point out that none of the organizations such as the CPI(Maoist), KPP, KLO and SIMI is banned in West Bengal. The recent arrests and incarceration of 59 Greater Coochbehar activists have only added to the long list of political prisoners. The government has targeted particularly the CPI(M-L) PW and the MCC—now called CPI(Maoist) for marginalization and elimination from the political map of West Bengal, as has been made amply clear by the chief-cum-home minister in his budget speeches of 2001, 2003 and 2005—and in his speeches made from time to time on numerous occasions.
What is of grave concern to civil society is that in order to achieve that ‘objective’, the government has given the widest possible power to police and para-military forces to arrest, intimidate, implicate anybody, thereby encouraging the policy of impunity to delinquent police personnel and arrogantly brushing aside all criticism against the repressive policy. The government has been attacking the political and organizations and, as a result, poor villagers have been facing severest repression for the last few years, even leading to deaths due to starvation in certain areas of West Medinipur.
That the police forces of West Bengal are showing no respect for the law of the land and are trampling underfoot all constitutional and democratic norms …………
Our Demands

1. All forms of police repression and brutality should be stopped.
2. All cases against prisoners, arrested on political grounds—whether released on bail or still in jail—should be withdrawn, and they should be released immediately and unconditionally.
3. The status of political prisoner should be granted to all political prisoners, irrespective of their political beliefs and activities.
4. Adequate compensation should be given to the families of Bisadu Barman and Chitta Roy, who were killed in police firing on 20 September 2005 during the Greater Coochbehar movement and that the state should look after the education of their children.
5. BMC representatives should be allowed to meet the political prisoners in all the prisons of WB.

Chhotan Das
Convenor, BMC,
Kolkata, 29 December 2005.



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