Demand the release of Dr. Samir Biswas

January 16, 2014

We demand the release of Dr. Samir Biswas
Re-establish the right of ailing person to medical treatment.

After Dr. Binayak Sen, it is now the turn of Dr. Samir Biswas. Dr. Biswas was arrested on 11th December 2013 for his alleged role in helping the Maoists. His attempts at securing bail have been rejected twice and he has been transferred from police custody to jail custody. The police is not furnishing case diary in order to keep this veteran doctor under arrest for a longer time.

Who is Dr. Samir Biswas?
No, he is not as famous as Dr. Sen. But he has always served the people and has never shied away from supporting people’s movements.

Samir Biswas was born in 1946. A brilliant student of Asansol Ramakrishna Mission, he joined Nilratan Sircar Medical College in 1964. In the turbulent 70s, like other youths of his time, he also got attracted by the Naxalbari movement. Like many other students and youths of his time, he was arrested in 1971 and was released after 18 months. In 1977, he joined Barmundia Colliery of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) as a doctor. Later on he was associated with Kalla Central Hospital of ECL and he retired as Deputy Director of that hospital.

Dr. Samir Biswas has not only served as the government doctor of a colliery, but he was a sympathizer of the people and throughout his life, he has treated poor people free of cost. In many cases, he has extended help by providing medicine and food to the patients. His house was open to all patients irrespective of caste-religion-creed or political affiliation. Along with a few other friends, he used to run one charitable dispensary in the nearby Sheetala village. He stood by the workers of Hindustan Pilkington Glass Works of Asansol and offered medical and other help.

Besides his identity as a medical practitioner, Dr. Samir Biswas has another existence as a human rights activist. He was an active member of Asansol Civil Rights Association. Though he was suffering from glaucoma, yet he has tried to support the movements in Singur-Nandigram-Lalgarh as a part of citizens’ initiative.

But why was Dr. Biswas arrested?
On 18th April 2010 the police raided the quarters of Dr. Biswas. The police alleged that Dr. Biswas treated the Maoists and in his quarters, documents of the banned organisation were found. At the time of this police raid, Dr. Biswas was not in his quarters as he used to go every week to his ancestral house in Mohisila Colony in Asansol. The erstwhile government had filed several cases including one on ground of sedition in order to satisfy their political vendetta. At that time besides different human rights groups, intellectuals and association of physicians, leaders and cadres of the principal opposition party, who are currently in power in Bengal, had protested. And on 11th December 2013 the same political party evoked the old case to arrest Samirbabu.

We demand the release of Dr. Samir Biswas. Irrespective of the political belief of Dr. Biswas, no one can be arrested for treating ailing persons. This is true even if, as alleged, he had treated the Maoists. Before getting permission to start medical practices, a medical student takes an oath and has to declare: “I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient”. If at all Dr. Biswas is guilty, then he is guilty of trying to realize this oath in practice. If Dr. Biswas is guilty, then many other physicians (particularly those who practice in rural areas) are also guilty because they, knowingly or unknowingly, also treat the political opponents of the ruling party.

We want immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Biswas. At the same time we want to re-establish the rights of the medical practitioners to treat all patients irrespective of their nationality, religion, caste-creed, social or political positions.

Dr. Jnanabrata Sil,
Dr. Sanjib Mukhopadhyay,
Dr. Ashok Samata,
Dr. Debasish Dutta,
Dr. Punyabrata Gun,
Dr. Siddhartha Gupta.

Published and printed by Dr. Punyabrata Gun, HA 44, salt Lake, Sector -3, Kolakata 700 079. 17th January, 2014.