Tag Archives: political prisoners

Alleged Maoist on His Release From Prison and Other Matters: Interviewed by Shailza Sharma

Guest post. BACHCHA PRASAD SINGH who was recently released from Patiala Central Jail, interviewed by SHAILZA SHARMA

Bachcha Prasad Singh was released from Patiala Central Jail on May 31, 2016 after being kept in illegal judicial custody for an extra three days. In a time when all verification processes are possible online, he was dragged by police officials on a 32 hour road journey from Patiala to Kanpur, for verification of his identity and pending cases. When the Kanpur court and jail authorities refused to take him in custody since he had been granted bail in the FIR registered at Kanpur, the jail authorities could not do much and he was again taken back to Patiala. There were murmurs among the police officials ‘isko Punjab se nahin chhodna’ (He should not be released from Punjab).  Only when a habeas corpus was filed in Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court by the Senior Advocate R.S. Bains, the Patiala jail authorities were compelled to release Bachcha Prasad. Harassment at the hands of the Patiala jail authorities was his fate on the day of his release as well, his barrack, his belongings and his bags, which were already in custody of the jail authorities were stripped and searched and he was thoroughly humiliated.

Knowing that it is the modus operandi of the State to re-arrest political prisoners, immediately upon their release on false pretexts, it was the apprehension of his lawyers that the State was creating circumstances which could lead to his re-arrest. However, it is a testament to the dedication and life of the 57 year old revolutionary who after more than 6 years of imprisonment, considered this episode in his life nothing but a brief pause. Continue reading Alleged Maoist on His Release From Prison and Other Matters: Interviewed by Shailza Sharma

New Phase in Struggle for Release of Political Prisoners in West Bengal: Biswajit Roy

Guest post by BISWAJIT ROY

Civil society, including human rights groups, in Bengal are now divided on Mamata Banerjee government’s ‘open and hidden’ conditions regarding the release of political prisoners who have been jailed during the Left front rule as well as talks with Maoists and Maoist-backed Peoples Committee against Police Atrocities in Bengal’s tribal hinterland, known as Junglemahal.

Mamata and her ministers have rejected the demands for unconditional release of all political prisoners, immediate withdrawal of joint forces from Junglemahal and public announcement on non-enforcement of the draconian central law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Maoists and PCPA have accused Mamata of eating up her pre-poll words on those demands. A large section in the human rights movement including the intellectuals and activists who actively joined the Mamata-led campaign for regime-change now supported these demands. But some of their fellow travellers have differed on political and legal grounds.

The differences revealed contradictions between the pre-poll and post-poll positions of Mamata as well as chinks in the armour of human rights groups on the attitude to the new government, Maoists and PCPA. Tension among all the stakeholders in the process— Mamata, Maoists, human rights groups and individuals— was well-known within the concerned circles for quite some time. But none of the stakeholders dwelt on it in public before the assembly polls when they had made common cause against the CPM, particularly, the atrocities by CPM-joint forces combine.

I would like to dwell on post-poll dilemmas and fissures in the pro-Paribartan civil society in Bengal later. But this piece is primarily aimed at reporting the increasing manifestations of the hitherto latent tension.

Continue reading New Phase in Struggle for Release of Political Prisoners in West Bengal: Biswajit Roy