Nonadanga: Political Profiles of the Arrested Activists

April 17, 2012

The dispossessed of Nonadanga are now on hunger strike, staying in an open field while facing constant police harassment. The demand is two-fold: rehabilitation, and the release of seven arrested activists. In view of the situation, Sanhati is publishing political profiles of the arrested activists.

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Debalina Chakrabarty, secretary of Kolkata based women’s organization Matangini Mahila Samiti, has participated in the people’s movements of Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh. She has been a member on many fora, such as the SEZ Birodhi Prachar Mancha, resisting the aggression of neoliberal capital in West Bengal. She has also participated on various fact-finding teams, including one of the first reports to probe the socioeconomic effects of the purported Jindal SEZ in Salboni, West Midnapur district, West Bengal.

Samik Chakraborty is an activist with the Mazdur Kranti Parishad and is also a documentary filmmaker with the activist cinema group Canvas. Earlier, Samik was the state secretary and president of the Progressive Democratic Students’ Federation. Samik is currently a fulltime activist, being involved in many of the peoples’ movements in the past decade ranging from the movements in Singur, Laalgarh, lockedout factory workers’ movements in the Hooghly and 24 Parganas industrial belt, union struggles of Hindusthan Motors, Gorkhaland agitations, relief and rehabilitation demands for Aila affected people of the Sundarbans and more recently the struggle of the slum evictees of Nonadanga. As a member of Canvas, he was involved in shooting and producing a host of documentaries. Samik is also an activist of the Sanhati Collective.

Manas Chatterjee is a full time activist of CPIML Liberation. He is a member of the Party’s Kolkata District Committee, and Secretary of the Jadavpur local Committee. He is a veteran of many anti-eviction movements in the past, and has been at the forefront of the organisation of rickshaw workers in the Jadavpur region, as well as the organisation of workers in the industrial complexes of the region. He is a district committee member of Kolkata AICCTU.

Debjani Ghosh is one of the leaders of the student organisation USDF at Jadavpur University, and has been actively involved in many political struggles in and around Kolkata. She was one of the many students injured during the lathicharge by police inside JU campus in 2010 November. She has participated in the solidarity struggle for labourers at the Naihati Jute Mill in 2010. Recently, she had been arrested during the protests against the TMC government’s failure to release political prisoners and withdrawal of joint forces from Jangalmahal. She was also was one of the 12 USDF activists arrested while setting up a commemorative dais on Sidhu Soren’s martyr day. She has been part of the protests against the arrest of PCAPA leaders and is also part of the efforts to bring the land deal in Singur back in focus, as recently as August 2011.

Siddhartha Gupta has been active in the anti-land acquisition movement of Bengal since 2006, as part of Gana Pratirodh Mancha. Earlier he had been a member of the Revolutionary Youth League. At the time of this arrest he was employed as a physician at a hospital in Calcutta. He has been actively involved in organizing several free medical camps and had also visited Lalgarh for providing medical care to the people there. On one such visit in 2011 August he along with Abhijnan Sarkar was arrested. Siddhartha was also associated with Shramjibi Swasthya Udyog and has been one of the few doctors who visited the POSCO resistance area on health mission.

Partho Sarathi Ray has been active in various democratic rights struggles for a number of years, as a member of various solidarity fora, both in West Bengal and across India. He has reported on a wide variety of peoples movements, from Lalgarh to POSCO. He has also written a number of fact-finding reports, e.g. on Falta SEZ and South City Mall. He has also written a large number of analytical articles, on the political geography of SEZs, the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India, the penetration of corporations in retail and the middle class of India. He has also contributed to various other magazines and journals, on similar issues. Partho is an activist of the Sanhati Collective.

Abhijnan Sarkar has been a member of the student group USDF and has actively participated in peoples movements in West Bengal for many years, as part of different solidarity fora. He is the editor of the periodical “Towards a New Dawn” in Kolkata. Abhijnan is also associated with the Sanhati Collective and has reported on the police repression on the Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee in Lalgarh.