First published in The Hindu
Narayan Sanyal is a 74-year-old man with white hair parted to one side and fibromatosis in both hands. His arrest memo notes that he wears dentures, has spots on his body and smokes cigarettes. “My health is not going well, arthritis is a new thing catching up, age is telling,” he writes in a letter addressed to a ‘Dear friend V’. This letter and two others became crucial evidence in the conviction last week of Mr. Sanyal, Kolkata businessman Pijush Guha and eminent doctor and human rights activist Binayak Sen.
Behind their conviction lies a curious paradox to which the Chhattisgarh police has never given a satisfactory answer: Why was Mr. Sanyal — whose Maoist connections led to charges against the co-accused in the first place — himself never charged with sedition or conspiracy to wage war or even with belonging to or supporting an unlawful organisation until well after Dr. Sen’s arrest under those serious offences?
Continue reading Suddenly Sanyal: The Many Arrests of Narayan Sanyal
At 10.45 a.m. on May 1, 2007 Pijush Guha checked into the Mahindra Hotel here and vanished. The hotel register indicates that he checked out at 8.45 p.m. the same day but no one knows where he went, who he met or what he did till 4.10 p.m. on May 6, 2007, when Anil Kumar Singh claimed he saw town inspector B.S. Jagrit detain Mr. Guha near the Raipur railway station.
According to Mr. Singh’s court testimony, the police searched Mr. Guha’s black and blue shoulder bag and found pamphlets supporting the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), a mobile phone, a rail ticket dated May 6, 2007, Rs. 49,0000 in cash and three letters which, Mr. Guha said, were written by the jailed Narayan Sanyal, an alleged Maoist, and handed over to him by physician and human rights activist, Binayak Sen. Mr. Jagrit claimed he made the arrest on the basis of information received on his wireless set but did not know where Mr. Guha had been during the five days prior to his arrest. Continue reading The Merchant of Murshidabad