February 3, 2010
Statement from group of academics, poets, authors and activists from Kolkata
Swapan Dasgupta has died in jail custody. He was publisher cum editor of a Bengali periodical. It was registered under the Government of India’s Registration of Newspapers Act and was not proscribed. Yet on 6 October 2009 he was arrested under the U.A.P.A. At the time of arrest he was suffering from asthma and other complicated diseases, which fact was not unknown to the administration. Did he get any immediate treatment in custody or was it neglect and lack of attention and care that eventually brought about his death? We think a thorough and trustworthy inquiry into that is necessary. The Supreme Court has given certain human rights to all prisoners: we also demand an impartial investigation of how much of those rights were made available to Swapan Dasgupta, or for that matter, are being made available to other prisoners under the same Act. This was not the first death in jail custody in this state, rather an addition to almost a series. The event once again reminds us that under democracy’s cover it is really in a police state that we are living. In the perspective of this terrible death, we demand a total end to all such repressive and revengeful measures.
Asok Sen, Sankha Ghosh, Alokeranjan Dasgupta, Amiya Dev, Samar Bagchi, Sourin Bhattacharya, Swapan Majumdar, Pranab Biswas, Rusati Sen, Aveek Majumdar