Talk show panelists are involved in pornography: Mamata Banerjee #Vaw #WTFnews


By PTI | 20 Jun, 2013,
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READ MORE ON » Women | West Bengal | talk shows | Talk show | Rape | Pornography | Mamata Banerjee
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today alleged that panelists of some local tv news channels critical of her were involved in pornography.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today alleged that panelists of some local tv news channels critical of her were involved in pornography.
GALSI (WB): Under attack from opposition and a section of intellectuals over the recent incident of rape and murder of a college student, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeetoday alleged that panelists of some local tv news channels critical of her were involved inpornography.”Two or three incidents (of rape) have taken place. But every evening this people have salacious discussion disrespecting our mothers and sisters day after day. Some channels which are bankrupt are insulting the people of Bengal,” she alleged, referring to talk-shows on a section of local tv channels.

“They are not doing the right thing. What children did not know, they are getting to know about. Who are being called (to the panel discussion)? Many of them are involved in pornography. They claim to be social workers but are actually working for money. Talk showsare nothing but money shows,” she said.

She promised to file charge sheet against the accused in the Barasat incident within one month seeking death penalty.

Accusing a section of the media of blowing up rape cases, she said, “One or two TV channels under the influence of CPI(M) are projecting them in such a way as if the people are not able to walk on the streets freely.”

“One or two cases had indeed taken place and we do not support them, but that does not mean that everything has turned bad in this state,” she said addressing a panchayat election meeting here.

She claimed that “CPI(M) knows that they will be defeated in the panchayat election and that is why they are constantly making false accusation against us with the help of some tv channels.”

Referring to the NCRB figures showing West Bengal having the highest number of crimes against women, Banerjee said, “It has been prepared without informing the state.”

Unlike in the previous Left Front regime, now FIRs were registered against the crimes against women, she said. “Crimes against women were the regular feature during the Left Front regime. FIRs were not allowed to be filed at that time.”

“At Keshpur in West Midnapur district there was series of crimes against women but police diary (complaints) were not allowed to be lodged during the Left Front rule,” she said.

During her speech, Banerjee also turned her ire against the Centre for seeking huge interest on loans taken by the previous Left Front government.

“I wish people from Bengal to go to Delhi and gherao the Prime Minister demanding to know from him why should the West Bengal government pay interest for huge loans taken by the previous Left Front government,” she said.

 

Mamata Banerjee’s goons silence an entire village #WTFnews


Kamalendu Bhadra, TNN | Jun 19, 2013, 0

Mamata visits rape victim's family; loses cool

Mamata visits rape victim’s family; loses cool
KAMDUNI (BARASAT): “Shut up”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had shouted atKamduni women on Monday. Her party toughs ensured they did. When TOI visited the village on Tuesday, the roar of a hundred women the previous day had been replaced by a deadening stillness.

Branded “CPM supporters” and browbeaten by the CM, the women shut up and shut themselves indoors. On Monday, they had rushed to their Didi simply to seek safety in an area where sexual brutality is the order of the day. Mamata’s outburst shocked them. Trinamool Congress‘ scare tactics silenced them.

Party toughs targeted Tumpa Koyal, who had gone eyeball to eyeball with Mamata on Monday, demanding that the Kamduni women be heard. Tumpa was a friend of the rape-murder victim and had studied with her till Class X. She had left her lunch on Monday and run after the CM, pleading to be heard. Mamata turned around and called her a CPM supporter.

On Tuesday, a rough-talking lungi-clad man, who identified himself as gram sabhapati Goutam Naskar, arrived at Tumpa’s doorstep along with seven-eight musclemen and threatened her parents, demanding that she apologize publicly for “insulting our beloved chief minister”.

“Mind it, this is for your own good,” he cautioned.

Luckily, her husband had whisked her away in the dead of night. Naskar then demanded her mobile number. Her parents said they didn’t have it. “You want me to believe that you don’t have your daughter’s contact number?” he thundered, warning everyone around that “party leaders” had started collecting “bio-data on all Kamduni women”.

Tumpa’s parents pleaded with folded hands to spare her, but Naskar shooed them away, saying Tumpa had to “stand in the middle of the village courtyard and confess she had committed a grave mistake”.

“Do you know how easy it is to get hold of someone’s mobile number,” Naskar warned her parents as he walked off.

The village courtyard, which was bustling for the past few days, looked deserted. The lanes were all but empty. The local school couldn’t even muster 30% attendance as the frightened villagers kept their kids indoors. Some women sitting at a tubewell scurried off when TOI tried to talk to them. One of them covered her face with her hands and said: “Don’t ask us anything. We haven’t seen anything, said anything or know anything. We don’t even exist.” The stink of fear was stifling.

It took an hour or so of knocking on doors before they opened up. “We ran after Didi just to tell our problems. We thought she would understand the village women’s fear. Instead, she treated us like dogs,” said Shankari Mondal. “She (Mamata Banerjee) has ruthlessly shattered our confidence. The message is clear to the culprits, they’ll reclaim their territory in a few days. The whole village fears the worst.”

Their fear is understandable, said Debu Mondal, a villager. “The women had lost all hope on the police and local leaders. Yesterday, they lost their last, very deep-rooted hope when Didi cursed them. Where will they go now?”

“We are scared. The whole village is tagged as ‘CPM’. Tell me, do you see a single CPM flag anywhere? This time, only one Left Front candidate could file his nomination in the 12 seats. Trinamool has a clean sweep here. We apprehend her anger will give rise to an evil force. We were only trying to bring some peace and stability in this unfortunate village,” said Poritosh Mondal, a farmer.

Another woman said: “We didn’t go for a movement. Didi was our last refuge. We just wanted to hold her hand but she let us down. We feel helpless. Who do we turn to?” Kamduni primary school headmaster Pradip Mukherjee understood the villagers’ plight. “When the villagers referred to her as ‘Didi’, how can they be in the opposition? The call ‘Didi’ itself is so affectionate and cordial. There must have been some miscommunication,” he said.

Tumpa’s father Probhas, a daily wage worker in a fishery, and her mother Molina were scared even to disclose their identity. “Look at our ramshackle hut. Do you think we work for CPM? My worry is whether I can feed my family the next meal,” said Probhas.

On the way back, we saw a young woman hurrying across the culvert on Bidyadhari canal, looking back now and then. It was just getting dark under a cloudy sky. A group of women armed with a lantern and torch emerged from a bylane and rebuked her for daring to move out alone “so late”. It was only 5.15pm. One of the women said: “Be careful. The times have changed.”

 

Press Release – Delhi protests against the arrests of peaceful protesters in Kolkata


Protest outside West Bengal govt’s bhawan, Rajiv Bhawan, New Delhi
Photo courtesy: Bijayalaxmi Nanda

June 14th

To,

The Resident Commissioner

West Bengal Bhavan

NEW DELHI

We, members of the Citizen’s Collective against Sexual Assault, women’s groups, progressive groups and concerned citizens from across the country are outraged at the unwarranted arrest of a peaceful gathering of feminist and human rights activists on June 13, 2013. We strongly condemn these arrests. We strongly uphold people’s democratic right to peaceful and non-violent dissent and protest.

The activists were trying to seek an appointment with the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, in order to hand over a letter of protest against the incidents of gang rape and murder of two young girls in Barasat and Nadia. The CM had earlier refused to meet civil society activists at Writers Buildings. Therefore, on June 13, 2013, members of MAITREE Network (a network of women rights groups in West Bengal) decided to gather outside her residence to seek an appointment. They were not even allowed to enter the street leading to the CM’s residence.

When they wanted to hand over a protest letter to the CM, they were told to hand over the letter to the police instead. They rejected this on the ground that it was the CM who was the elected representative and the head of the government. Without any prior warning to disperse, the totally peaceful gathering, modest in size, was suddenly dragged by the police and bundled into police vans. Thirteen activists were arrested and taken to the Lal Bazar Central lock-up. Surely, activists of women’s organisations are not perceived by the WB State Government as a security risk? Especially when they were there to express their concern about the gang rapes of women and girls in the state.Is that an act that threatens the CM or the Government of WB?

The attitude of the West Bengal government with respect to cases of sexual assault and sexual violence against women has, at best, been dismissive. This is evident in the Chief Minister’s response to the statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). It recorded 30,942 incidents of crime against women in West Bengal in 2012 as against 29,133 the year before. The government’s disclaimer was, “The situation in the state has improved and rape incidents have come down considerably”. Even as the state battles the shame of the Barasat and Nadia rape and murders, Bengal has again topped the country in crimes against women, accounting for 12.67% of such cases across India. Further, as the statistics reveal the state also recorded the third highest number of rapes (escaping the second slot by a whisker) while Kolkata registered the highest number of assaults on the ‘modesty’ of women among all the metro cities in the country.

We, the undersigned, condemn the increasing incidents of sexual assault and atrocities on women and girls in West Bengal. We deplore the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in the state and how that is severely affecting the safety and mobility of women, especially high school and college-going girls in suburban and rural areas.

Some zones have become particularly unsafe, like the Barasat belt in North 24 Parganas where an undergraduate student–daughter of a day-labourer–was gangraped and killed on 7 June on her way back from college. Women are being regularly harassed, molested and raped in that area and several such incidents have been reported in the local media in the last two years. But the administration refuses to act. As the panchayat elections are drawing near, activists fear an escalation of violence against women in the state.

We also condemn the way in which women rights and human rights defenders have been treated by the Government, in complete opposition to the democratic principles of the country.

We demand:

  1. Immediate action initiated against the police personnel responsible for their arrests.
  2. That the West Bengal government accept the right of all, regardless of political leanings, to protest peacefully and democratically on important issues.
  3. That the Government, judiciary and law enforcing agencies initiate speedy action and arrest the culprits responsible for cases of atrocities against women, including the latest two cases of rape and murder against the young girls in Barasat and Nadia.
  4. That proper investigation and a fair and unbiased trial be fast tracked that would enable victims and their families to access justice and lead culprits towards due punishment.
  5. Further, steps should be taken to end instances of violence against women in the state, in consultation with the women rights’ and human rights’ groups.

——

Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault (CCSA), New Delhi, is a group of individuals and organisations that has come together to protest against the extreme culture of sexual violence against women and girls in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. We raise these issues with the public, as well as the administration and the police of Delhi-NCR and work in different ways to stop and prevent sexual harassment against vulnerable groups. CCSA can be contacted at ccsaindia@gmail.com and ccsaindia@ymail.com.

 

Kolkata – ‘Lock-up for protest songs!’ #Vaw


14 Jun 13

A group of women wanting to meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday to tell her how unsafe they feel in Bengal was herded into prison vans and put in the Lalbazar lock-up for several hours.

Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha justified the move, saying the force could not have taken chances with the chief minister’s Z+ security. Some of those arrested for trying to meet Mamata at her Kalighat residence — they were released on bail around 3.30pm — called the police’s concern over Mamata’s security “misplaced”.

Sarmistha Dutta Gupta, who was in the group, tells Sreecheta Das of Metro what had taken her to Harish Chatterjee Street and how disappointed she felt when the police cracked down on a “peaceful rally”.

Being associated with the feminist movement for over 30 years and taking part in innumerable protests and processions, I used to think I was prepared for every kind of resistance. I was mistaken. I had no idea that participating in a peaceful rally, where the only thing that people do is sing protest songs, could land me in a police lock-up.

I reached the Hazra Road-Harish Chatterjee Street crossing around 8am to submit a memorandum to the chief minister regarding the gruesome gang rape and murder at Barasat and the general safety of women in our state. I joined the group because my conscience told me to. While our protest was against what happened in Barasat on June 7, the scope of our demands went beyond that.

Crimes against women have increased in the past one-and-a-half years. What I find more alarming is that more and more girl students are being targeted. Barasat has earned notoriety for different kinds of crimes against women — from men making lewd remarks and gestures at schoolgirls to Friday’s incident, that area has witnessed everything in the past year.

But the administration doesn’t seem to be perturbed. All that we see are a few arrests following every shocking incident. But there is hardly any follow-up, there is barely any effort to make women feel secure.

The administration doesn’t seem interested in reflecting on why such incidents are repeatedly taking place in a particular area. There are several schools, colleges and a university in Barasat, where many students are first-generation learners. We have interacted with students and teachers and found that there is no electricity in many places, let alone street lamps. Local toughs have been employed as watchmen in large plots of land meant for future commercial purposes.

Local girls say they are petrified of returning home after evening tuitions.

I am also deeply disturbed by the fact that people in the administration did not think it necessary to express their concern or anguish regarding any of the incidents.

Whenever we have sought an appointment with the chief minister, we have been turned down. On Monday, my friends from Maitree (an NGO) had gone to Writers’ Buildings to submit a memorandum to Mamata Banerjee. She did not meet them.

On Thursday morning, there were 30 of us, far fewer than the cops already stationed there when we arrived.

Six of our friends were arrested first, but I started walking towards Hazra with the rest. As we marched, we could see the police following us, some on foot and others on bikes. They blocked our way, pointed at the vans and told us to get inside.

When we said it was our right to stand wherever we wanted to, an officer replied: “Oto kotha jani na…cholun (we don’t know all that…get inside).”

They dragged us into the vans. They did not lathicharge us, but they did display brute force. My friend Swapna’s hand swelled up because of the manner in which she was pulled.

We still don’t know what the charges against us are and we can’t understand how singing songs could be construed as disruption of peace.

The trauma that we underwent would make some sense only when the administration realises that they have to come forward and do their bit to make Calcutta — and Bengal — safe for women.

AS TOLD TO SREECHETA DAS

 

Kolkata gangrape: Peaceful protesters rounded up, Mamata remains silent #Vaw


by  Jun 13, 2013

While West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjeeherself maintains a dismissive silence on the issues of women’s safety plaguing the state and its capital Kolkata, she probably likes people of her state to follow her example and not fret too much about young girls getting raped and killed.

In what is indicative of a similar sentiment, the Kolkata Police today picked up and detained a group of peaceful protesters who had turned up in front of the chief minister’s south Kolkata home to seek assurance of action and also submit a memorandum of demands.

Anuradha Kapoor, who is associated with the civil rights group Maitree, spoke to Firstpostabout her ordeal. She, along with twelve of her colleagues, were picked up by the Kolkata Police from Kalighat and taken to the police headquarters at Lalbazar

Mamata Banerjee. Agencies.

Mamata Banerjee. Agencies.

According to Kapoor, she and her colleagues turned up in front of Mamata Banerjee‘s house in Kalighat, Kolkata seeking an appointment with her. They were stopped at the police barricade in front of the chief minister’s house at around 7.45 am today. They sought an appointment with the CM but were  refused one.

“The police told us that we can’t meet her since there are so many of us. So we said that the rest of us can wait outside while three or four people can go and meet her,” Kapoor said.

However, the police still refused to let them in and the protesters too refused to budge.

“We had placards with us and we were singing songs. The police asked us to make way for vehicles, we did that too. Suddenly, the officer-in-charge of the Kalighat Police station started hollering at the women police constables on duty and asked them to make us leave. In no time, two police vans came and cops started dragging us and herding us into the vans. They rounded some of us up. Then they followed the rest in our group who had already left the spot and were several hundred metres away. They were picked up too and brought to the Lalbazar station,” says Kapoor.

There were 40 activists, of which twelve were picked up and detained at the police headquarters. Till this report was filed, the activists were detained at the Lalbazar police station and were given no information about the charges against them.

“The state of women’s security in terrible. It has been like that for a long time now and we elected a new government for a reason. However, they are in complete denial of the situation and when you protest, this is what you get. We had sought an appointment with the CM at the Writers’ Buildings prior to this. She asked a deputy to inform us that the demands can be forwarded to the police chief and she didn’t meet us,” said Kapoor.

A 20-year-girl was gangraped and killed last Friday and a twelve-year-old suffered the same fate within four days of the other incident. Protests have broken out across the state following that.

 

#India -13 Women activists from Maitree arrested for protesting in Kolkata #Vaw #WTFnews


Protests outside Mamata‘s house over report that claims Bengal is unsafest for women

Edited by Surabhi Malik (With Inputs from IANS) | Updated: June 13, 2013

Protests outside Mamata's house over report that claims Bengal is unsafest for women

KolkataWomen activists demonstrated outside Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s residence in Kolkata this morning to protest against a spate of rape cases in the state. They wanted to meet Ms Banerjee and submit a memorandum of demands. But an hour into the protests, police dispersed the women activists and arrested 13 of them.

The protesters, led by Maitree which is an umbrella organisation of women activists, also wanted to meet Mamata to seek her response to a report released by the National Bureau of Crime Records which says West Bengal has the maximum number of crimes against women in the country.

Unable to meet Mamata, the activists left an “open letter” for her asking her why she had not spoken about the two recent and brutal rape and murder cases in the state.

The two incidents happened in quick succession and left Kolkata shocked. Last Friday, at Kamdoni village about 25 km from Kolkata, a 20-year-old college girl was brutally raped and murdered by six men. Three days later, a 13-year-old school student met the same fate at Gede in Nadia district.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says Bengal recorded the highest number of crimes against women for the second year in a row in 2012. The state government however contested the data, claiming its disclaimers were not published.

According to NCRB, Bengal recorded 30,942 cases of crime against women in 2012 – of which 2,046 were rapes, 4,168 kidnapping, 593 dowry deaths and 19,865 cases of cruelty by husband or relatives.

But state Director General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee said rape cases had come down “considerably” in 2012. He attributed the hike in crimes against women to cases registered under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code, related to cruelty towards a woman by her husband or his relatives.

In 2012, West Bengal recorded 2,046 cases of rape – lower only than Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In 2011, the state had recorded 29,133 cases of crime against women, 2,317 of these were rapes.

 

#India – For Kolkata Rape Survivor , a Lonely Wait for Justice #Vaw #Womenrights


By SWATI SENGUPTA
A demonstration in Kolkata, West Bengal, on Feb. 14, which was part of the 'One Billion Rising' campaign, a global initiative to oppose violence against women.Dibyangshu Sarkar/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesA demonstration in Kolkata, West Bengal, on Feb. 14, which was part of the ‘One Billion Rising’ campaign, a global initiative to oppose violence against women.

KOLKATA, West Bengal —In February 2012, a woman was gang-raped in a moving car after she was offered a lift from outside a nightclub on Kolkata’s Park Street. Unlike the majority of rape victims in India, she decided to report the crime, not only to the Park Street police, but also to the media. With her back to the TV cameras, her frizzy hair being her only identifying feature, she fielded questions from journalists.

Not long afterward, as she waited at a bus stop, another person saw her curls and asked, “Are you the Park Street rape victim?”

The woman immediately fled the bus stop. After that, she began to tie up her hair every time she went outside.

Katrina at a reporter's house in Kolkata, West Bengal, on May 14.Courtesy of Swati SenguptaKatrina at a reporter’s house in Kolkata, West Bengal, on May 14.

“Even my family and friends now ask me to straighten my hair,” said the woman, a 38-year-old Anglo-Indian who asked to be identified as Katrina. “I am constantly identified everywhere I go. But why should I? I love my curls and always like to keep my hair open.”

Since the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi last year shocked the nation, the central government has passedstronger laws on sex crimes and harassment of women, and the suspects are being tried in a fast-track court that was set up for sexual assault cases, which usually take years to conclude.

Katrina’s case is also in a fast-track court in Kolkata, where three of the five men she accused of raping her — Nishad Alam, Naseer Khan and Sumit Bajaj – began their trial in March. However, the Kolkata police commissioner, Surajit Kar Purakayastha, said the police are still looking for the other two men, Mohammad Ali and Kader Khan, the main suspect.

However, tougher laws on crimes against women can’t prevent the ostracization that occurs to rape victims in India, as Katrina has learned.

For example, the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, responded to the initial reports about the rape by saying Katrina had lied in order to make her government look bad. Hours later, an angry mob formed outside Katrina’s apartment building.

Katrina has also been receiving calls from unknown people who have threatened her or offered her money to withdraw the case, the last one as recently as April, which she reported to the police.

The single mother of two teenage daughters decided to not take any chances with her safety. A former call center worker who was unemployed at the time of the rape, she has spent most of the past year at home while she looked for a job.

“I never stepped into a discotheque since then. I hardly go out with friends. I miss my life,” she says wistfully, sipping tea and nibbling on croquettes at a reporter’s house. She agreed to visit only after receiving reassurances that no one else would be home.

Her sense of isolation grew as her neighbors – many of whom used to celebrate Christmas and the New Year at her apartment — began to grumble about her. Katrina often came home at odd hours when she was running a call center, but after she went public with the rape, she said that her neighbors complained about her comings and goings.

“No matter how early I returned, everyone would suggest I got back late – hinting that I was in the wrong and had invited my rape,” Katrina said

Whenever she had guests or her teenage daughters stepped out, she said her neighbors would whisper: “Look! There they go!”

“Luckily, I have very strong girls,” she said. “I know they will protest every injustice, but I am scared out of my wits for them.”

Biswanath Acharya, one of her former neighbors, said the complaints about Katrina were purely for security reasons. “We objected about the odd hours in which she would leave and return home, or some of her friends – usually male – would visit her.”

His wife, Durga, said that while she supported Katrina’s decision to report the rape, she said that they got updates on the case from television and never from her. “We came to know from her landlord that she was facing a financial crisis as she couldn’t pay her rent,” she said. “But we were not close enough to discuss about her job requirements. Frankly, looking at her, you wouldn’t know she didn’t have a job.”

Katrina eventually moved, deciding that she didn’t want to deal with the dirty looks and snide remarks. But even while she was looking for another apartment, she was reminded of her status as a rape victim. She said landlords would take her deposit, make inquiries about her and finally return the money. They would tell her, “We can’t rent this flat to you. Surely you know why,” she recalled.

The government was partly to blame for Katrina’s plight since it didn’t offer her much help, said Bharati Mutsuddi, a senior advocate of the Calcutta High Court, who was also a member of the West Bengal Commission for Women when the Left Front governed the state. “The role of the state could have been to offer her succor, strongly supporting her in the case and to ensure she remains strong, mentally and physically,” Ms. Mutsuddi said.

The current head of the women’s commission, Sunanda Mukherjee, said that the commission was already handling many cases and that Katrina needed to file a case with the commission if she wanted aid.

Katrina ended up finding another apartment on her own, and, after many interviews that never went anywhere, another job. About six weeks ago, she was approached by Santasree Chaudhuri, an entrepreneur and a women’s rights activist, to work at a hotline she founded for victims of sexual and domestic violence, called Survivors for Victims of Social Injustice.

Ms. Chaudhuri, who was out of the country when Katrina’s case was first reported in the media, learned about Katrina after returning to India and contacted her through a nongovernment organization. “She came to my place and immediately offered me this job,” Katrina said.

She started the new job about six weeks ago. “Now I meet so many women and encourage them to go on fighting for their rights, and it feels good to support them in this manner,” said Katrina, who has been inspired to write a book about her own experience.

Katrina said she was hopeful that the next generation will have a more sympathetic view of rape victims, as her daughters’ friends have stood by them. “No snide remarks, no ditching my darlings because of my rape. I’ve been to parent-teacher meetings, and my children’s friends all surround me and chat,” she said.

She said although she had initially regretted coming forward about the rape, those feelings quickly dissipated, and now she was determined to see her case through to the end, no matter the cost.

“Had I died that night – and it’s only a miracle that I am alive – people would have sympathized,” she said. “The fact that I am alive, screaming, protesting with courage no matter how much I am crumbling inside, makes everyone angry. How can a raped, brutalized woman still have so much of courage and voice? They want me to break down.”

 

People should oppose FDI in retail: Mahasweta Devi #mustshare


 

Kolkata, May 21 — Supporting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s decision to withdraw from the UPA last September on the issue of FDI in retail, eminent writer Mahasweta Devi Tuesday exhorted people from all walks of life to protest against the measure.

“Of course, I support our chief minister’s decision to withdraw from the centre on FDI. I think everybody should protest against it. People from all walks of life should contribute in their own way in standing up against it,” Mahasweta Devi said while launching a book “FDI-Gobhir Shorjontror Shikar Aamra” (FDI-We are a target of conspiracy).

The 89-year-old Jnanpith awardee suggested tapping into indigenous resources for India‘s growth and development.

“We have sufficient resources. If we use them properly then India can walk on a path of progress and development,” she said.

Mahasweta Devi said she was “somewhat satisfied” with the state government’s stance on introduction of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.

Commending the Trinamool Congress for “trying” to bring about changes during its two years in power, she said it is too early to comment on its impact.

“It’s too early to comment. It has just completed two years. It hasn’t done too good or anything worth praising nor it has done anything bad worth criticising.

“It’s trying… let’s just say that,” she added.

Trinamool Congress Monday completed two years in power in West Bengal.

 

nydailynews.com

 

Rights rap on West Bengal Government #FOE #FOS


- Strongest charge against Ambikesh was an ‘afterthought’MONALISA CHAUDHURI, Telegraph

 

The state human rights commission has refused to accept the Mamata Banerjee government’s justification for the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, citing depositions by top police officers to surmise that the strongest charge against him was an “afterthought”.

“The commission is constrained to put it on record that it finds it difficult to accept the reasons given in the letter of the additional chief secretary for non-acceptance of the commission’s recommendations,” it said in a communiqué to the state government on Tuesday.

The rights commission cited two reasons for not accepting the state’s argument that there was no violation of human rights in the arrest of Mahapatra, who had been first charged with outraging the modesty of a woman for circulating an Internet joke on Mamata Banerjee.

“Senior police officers, including the city police commissioner, had deposed before the commission that Mahapatra was arrested after being charged with a cognisable offence under Section 509 of the IPC. The fact that he was not arrested under Section 66A(b) of the Information Technology Act proves that this stringent section was included as an afterthought,” an official of the commission said.

“It appears that his arrest came first and then the charges were slapped to put him behind bars without considering whether the alleged offence merited these charges,” he added.

Justice Ashok Ganguly, the chairman of the rights commission, said circulating an Internet joke was in no way an offence that called for penal charges of the kind slapped on the chemistry professor. “It was an innocuous mail, based on characters from a movie for children (Satyajit Ray’s Sonar Kella). How could the police slap such stringent charges for circulating a mail like that?” he said.

Legal experts said invoking Section 509 (intending to insult the modesty of a woman by words and gestures) was “inappropriate” in Mahapatra’s case because the presumed victim never filed a complaint against him.

“According to the rule book, only a complaint in writing from the victim — in this case the chief minister — about outrage of modesty would have made him liable to be charged under Section 509. Circulation of an Internet joke with apparently nothing in it that can be construed as outraging someone’s modesty is, in common knowledge, out of the purview of Section 509,” a veteran lawyer said.

Sections 509 and 500 (defamation) were ultimately omitted from the police chargesheet against Mahapatra. The only charge retained against the professor was under Section 66A(b) of the Information Technology Act (electronic circulation of objectionable content).

The rights commission not only declined to accept the premise under which Mahapatra had been arrested, it also picked holes in the state’s contention that the professor and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta were “rescued from an agitated mob”.

Police officers during their deposition admitted that the arrestees had been wrongfully restrained before being rescued and taken to the police station. Then why was no action taken against the people who had wrongfully restrained the duo? Instead, the victims were treated as accused and charges were drawn up against them,” the commission official said.

Mahapatra said he would write to the Prime Minister’s Office again about the state’s attempt to justify the harassment he had to endure. “The government has made a mockery of its assurance of ‘immediate redressive action’ to the PMO. I will let Prime Minister Manmohan Singh know about it.”

Responding to Mahapatra’s previous letter, the PMO had prodded the Bengal government last December to “take necessary action” in the case. The state rejected all the recommendations of the rights commission last week.

The rights body had recommended departmental action against two police officers — Milan Kanti Das and Sanjay Biswas — for allegedly harassing Mahapatra and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 each.

Mahapatra has pinned his hopes on Calcutta High Court, where a PIL filed by lawyer and former mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya is scheduled for hearing in June.

The chemistry professor will not be moving court individually because he doesn’t want to be away from the classroom for long. “Over the past year, I could not attend many classes because of court hearings. I don’t want to miss classes anymore. Otherwise, my students will suffer,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SUBHANKAR CHOWDHUR

 

 

Press Release-Condemn the Growing Tendencies of Re-arrests of Political Activists!


COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110025

 

Dated: 19.04.2013

Condemn the Growing Tendencies of Re-arrests of Political Activists!

Condemn the Brutal Torture and Illegal Detention of Zakir Hussain!!

Release Zakir Hussain and Sabyasachi Goswami

Immediately and Unconditionally!

Punish the Officers Responsible for the Torture and

Illegal Confinement of Zakir Hussain!

 

Yet again the People of West Bengal are being witness to another instance of police brutality, trampling all constitutional norms, perpetration of third degree torture in police lock-up and the submission of false statements in the court of law. In its treatment of dissident voices, the present Mamata-led government is no different from the previous Buddhadev-led government which had ruled the state of West Bengal for more than 3 decades.

On 19 April 2013, Zakir Hussain and Sabyasachi Goswami were produced in Bankshall Court, Kolkata. The police force (STF) as usual showed them to have been arrested on 18 April from Behala in Kolkata for having Maoist links. Zakir had signs of police torture in STF lock-up all over his body and was almost unable to move. Actually, Zakir was arrested on 15th from Dharmatala in Kolkata—a place other than what was stated before the court. He was produced after four days of arrest—a clear violation of Supreme Court directives which makes it binding for the police to produce an arrested person within 24 hours of arrest. Zakir’s face was covered by a mask by the police in the lock-up to escape identification. Then he was beaten black and blue to extract confession—yet another violation of court directives and UN Covenant relating to Civil and Political Rights.  Sabyasachi Goswami was picked up on 18 April from Piyali, Canning in South 24-Parganas. He was subjected to mental and physical torture and was not allowed to sleep the intervening night between 18 and 19. They, as usual, were implicated in false cases like carrying arms and indulging in seditious acts, having Maoist connections.

 Both Zakir and Sabyasachi were arrested and incarcerated earlier for years together in another case and both were acquitted and released in 2011 after spending six years in prison. Both of them had been attending courts regularly since then in cases where they were released on bail. Last year, the STF raided the house of Sabyasachi and threatened his relatives. His mother who had been suffering from various ailments had a traumatic experience and she expired recently—a clear case of death by torture, brutal police forces driving a mother to her death by intimidation. This is how ‘democracy’ works in this ‘this largest democracy’ in the world.

Re-arrests of activists who have been acquitted of previous trumped up charges that too after prolonged periods of incarceration—in this case six years—has become a regular feature of the modus operandi of the police forces whether it is in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa Bihar etc. This while undoubtedly shows the growing impunity of the police and other special forces as well as investigating agencies is further becoming a standard operating procedure vis-à-vis criminalizing all forms of political dissent in the subcontinent.     

At CRPP, we unequivocally condemn the re-arrest of Zakir Hussain and Sabyasachi Goswami, the torture perpetrated on them in police custody by the notorious Special Task Force under the Mamata Banerjee-led government, demand exemplary punishment of those police personnel guilty of committing torture as well as the immediate and unconditional release of the political prisoners.

 

In Solidarity,

 

SAR Geelani                  

President                

 

Amit Bhattacharyya             

Secretary General                    

 

Sujato Bhadro              

Vice-president           

 

MN Ravunni

Vice President

 

Rona Wilson

Secretary, Public Relations