Immediate Release-Statement of concern on prolonged police custody of Debolina


WSS STATEMENT OF CONCERN ON PROLONGED POLICE CUSTODY OF DEBOLINA,
MATANGINI MAHILA SAMITI, KOLKATA

WSS is extremely concerned by the continued police custody of activist Debolina Chakrabarty, secretary of the Kolkata based women’s
organization, Matangini Mahila Samiti, and the recent reports in the press that she has developed some eye problems while in CID custody. The manner in which her custody was sought by the CID and then granted by the Magistrate is also very disturbing; it only heightens our apprehensions and anxieties of ill-treatment and torture of Debolina. In view of the blatant lawlessness in the custodial torture of Soni Sori in Chhattisgarh, we fear the worst during such `interrogation’ by the police; it could very well be the same or a worse form of `intimidation’ and torture.
Earlier, on 4th April the Kolkata police had brutally lathi-charged a peaceful protest rally of slum-dwellers who had been evicted over the previous week from their hutments in Nonadanga in south Kolkata.  Among those subjected to this indiscriminate lathi-charge were children and a pregnant woman.  On 8th April another peaceful demonstration against this eviction was broken up by the police, and nearly 80 people, including a child were arrested from this demonstration; Debolina and six other activists were also arrested along with these people.
All seven activists were produced in court on 9th April and remanded to police custody till 12th April. They have been charged with unlawful assembly and assault on police.  On 12th, when they were produced in court, all were sent to jail custody till 21st April.   In the evening when the lawyers of the accused were about to leave, the CID put up papers in a secretive manner for the police remand of Debolina in three other cases — two of which are old and allegedly connected with incidents that supposedly took place in Nandigram and Bishnupur, for which charge-sheets had already been submitted, and the third in connection with a case of 2011 in Nandigram for which an FIR was secretly filed in the P. S. The magistrate granted the custody to the CID, without even listening to the response of the lawyers of the accused. Despite the protests by the other arrested activists, Debolina was forcibly taken away by the CID in a police car to Bhabani Bhawan for `interrogation’, while the other six prisoners were sent to Alipur Central Jail.  Debolina has also been tagged in a murder case under the draconian UAPA.
Debolina is a former student of the International Relations Department of Jadavpur University, and has been associated with
several mass movements.  She has participated in the people’s movements of Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh, and has been a member of
many fora, including the SEZ Birodhi Prachar Mancha.  She has also been a member of various fact-finding teams. Debolina has been with
the people’s movement for quite some years, functioning openly and participating in various mass movements that took place from time to time.  According to press reports, Debolina has started a hunger strike in CID custody.
While we welcome the granting of bail on April 17, 2012 for the release of Partho Sarathi Ray from Alipore Central Jail, Kolkata, we
strongly protest the continued detention of the other activists, especially the prolonged CID custody of Debolina.
We join the other organisations in expressing our solidarity and support to Debolina and the other five prisoners – Debjani Ghosh,
Samik Chakraborti, Manas Chatterjee, Siddhartha Gupta, and Abhijnan Sarkar; and demand that the fabricated charges against all of them be dropped, that they be released immediately, and Debolina be given immediate medical treatment.
WOMEN AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE & STATE REPRESSION (WSS)

19.04.12

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