The West Bengal police continues its harassments of civil liberties activists – Naba Datta, General Secretary, Nagarik Mancha, an eminent environment-movement and civil-liberties activist was arrested this afternoon by West Midnapore Police. We reproduce below the details that we have received from the human rights group MASUM. We strongly condemn this arrest and demand his immediate release.
Previous reports by Nagarik Mancha: A summary of Bengal’s industrial condition, Sponge iron industries and community devastation in Bengal, North Bengal tea gardens, Kolkata: displacementof canal bank dwellers, Policies on industrial land and real estate scam, Rizwanur Rehman’s death.
August 17, 2010
Mr. Naba Dutta along with his 3 companions; Ms. Progna Paromita Dutta Roy Chowdhury, Mr. Gautam Ghosh and Mr. Dipankar Mazumdar all attached with Nagarik Mancha, a civil society organization mainly focused on environmental and labor issues proceeded for a preannounced programme of sit- in; front of the Block Development Officer’s office at Narayangarh block of West Midnapur. The programme was organized by Lodha Shabar Vumij Kalyan Smiti. Mr. Naba Datta and his companion started from Kolkata by a vehicle (Toyota – Quallis 2.4D Model) with registration number WB-02M-8565. After reaching the place they peacefully completed the meeting and started for Kolkata by the said vehicle only. The driver of the car Mr. Ashok Midhya and Mr. Joydeb Singh of Lodha Shabar Vumij Kalayan Samiti was also in the car with the above mentioned activists of Nagarik Mancha. While Mr. Naba Datta and his associates with the driver (names mentioned above) were on their way to Kolkata, one police vehicle intercepted them and asked to follow their vehicle without showing any reasons. While asked about the reason of such illegal act the police personnel who made the said persons captive replied as, ‘we are taking you at Narayangarh Police Station’. Mr. Naba Dutta’s car followed the police vehicle without making any further argument. All the police personnel who taken the persons in hostage were not in police uniform but using a police car being plain clothes. When the cars crossed the Narayangarh Police Station, Mr. Naba Dutta and his companions sensed some foul and asked the police personnel about their actual motive and where they want to take them off but those police personnel denied to give any answer and told the driver of Naba Datta’s car only to follow their vehicle.
After a long drive the police personnel stopped in front of Sadatpur Investigation Centre under Jhargram Police Station and asked Mr. Naba Dutta and his associates to halt. After few minutes Mr. Naba Dutta was taken alone to Manikpur Beat House under Jhargram Police Station. By this time, except Mr. Naba Dutta all his other colleagues i.e. Ms. Progna Paromita Dutta Roy Chowdhury, Mr. Gautam Ghosh, Mr. Dipankar Mazumdar of Nagarik Mancha and Mr. Joydeb Singh of Lodha Shabar Vumij Kalayan Samiti with the driver, Mr. Ashok Middhya of Car no. WB-02M-8565 was released from police custody after submitting PR (Personal Release) Bond.
Thereafter Mr. Naba Dutta was taken to one police car no. WB 34N 0011.
As informed by our sources that from Manikpara Beat House Mr. Naba Dutta was taken to Sadatpur Investigation Centre again, which is around 90 km from the Manikpara Beat House, where he was stationed till 9.30pm.
The police personnel arrested Mr. Naba Dutta and his associates were in plain clothes, which is sheer violation of the guidelines laid down by the apex court of India in DK Basu case (AIR 1997 SC 610) regarding procedure of arrest. The family members of Mr. Naba Dutta should be informed about his whereabouts and charges framed against him at the utmost. While arresting them they not even prepared memo of arrest at the place of arrest, which is again a violation of the said guideline and Criminal procedure Code.
The whole episode was not only illegal but proving the whims of police and district authorities. Misdeeds of police again establish the fact that rule of law is in verge of collapse, where every dissenting voice is going to maim by authoritarian approach of the state and its machinery.
We are deeply concern about the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Naba Dutta, a renowned human rights activist and apprehending that his personal security is in risk.
We demand immediate unconditional release of Mr. Naba Dutta as it is a violation of guideline set up by the National Human Rights Commission om Human Rights Defenders.
We also demand that the state authority should immediately impart his whereabouts in public and ensure his wellbeing.
We strongly condemn the very act of the police and the West Bengal Government which shows that they are not willing to follow the rule of law.
Kirity Roy (Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, MASUM)