Naba Dutta of Nagarik Mancha Arrested Under False Charges
[Well known labour and human rights activist and one of the important functionaries of Nagarik Mancha, Naba Dutta was arrested by the West Bengal police in extremely strange circumstances, after he along with his colleagues was returning from a sit-in programme at the Block Development Officer’s office. The following is a press release issued by Kirity Roy of the Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI).]
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 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 companions started from Kolkata by a vehicle (Toyota – Qualis 2.4 D Model) with registration number WB-02M-8565. After reaching the place they peacefully completed the meeting and started for Kolkata by the said vehicle. 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 abovementioned 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. When asked about the reason for 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 had taken the persons in hostage were not in police uniform but were using a police car while being in plain clothes. When the cars crossed the Narayangarh Police Station, Mr. Naba Dutta and his companions sensed some foul play and asked the police personnel about their actual motive and where they wanted to take them but the police personnel declined to give any answer and told the driver of Naba Datta’s car 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 were 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 we were 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 9.30 pm.
The police personnel who 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 earliest. While arresting them they did not even prepare a 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 also goes to prove the whims of police and district authorities. Misdeeds of police again establish the fact that rule of law is on the verge of collapse, where every dissenting voice is going to be stifled by the 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 apprehend 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 details about his whereabouts to the public and ensure his wellbeing.
We strongly condemn the act of the police and the West Bengal Government which shows that they are not willing to follow the rule of law.
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
Tele Fax : +91-33-2640 4118
Phone: +91-33-2640 4520
e. mail : firstname.lastname@example.org