West Bengal – APDR Statement on the arrest of Shiladitya Chowdhury

August 16, 2012

Shiladitya Chowdhury’s arrest on last Friday by the Belpahari police was actually a politically motivated arrest instigated by the Chief Minister herself where political intolerance seemed to be the driving impulse. It shows how the Hon’ble Chair of the Chief Minister is presently cross pegged against democracy and citizen’s right to dissent and right to public protest under Art 19. It is said the test of tolerance comes when someone is in the brute majority. Here, she has utterly failed. APDR is sharply critical of the arrest of Shiladitya on manufactured ‘reality’ and concocted charges which are a product of an abhorable after-thought under political insistence from highest office in the Writers’ Buildings. It’s an affront against the Apex Court judgment and Order of 22nd September2006 (Prakash Singh vs. Union of India) for urgent police reforms to free the police from unwanted political interference. Police must not continue to act today as stooges of the political executives as rampantly happened in the past.

APDR and its branches in Paschim Medinipur will conduct a fact-finding on this incident very shortly together with protests in all other forms including street corners in Kolkata and elsewhere.

We request our Hon’ble CM not to further make a mockery of the failing system of criminal justice in our state (together with the rest of the country) of which she herself was a victim at Barasat in 1994 (her arrest was ordered by the Barasat CJM Siddhartha Roy Chowdhury who asked Kolkata police deputy commissioner (headquarter) to arrest and produce Mamata Banerjee before the court on February 2, 2006).
On earlier occasions we found her expressing her displeasure ordering police actions against a girl who dared to question about her role in the Park Street Rape case. This also happened to a school boy in the past in Jyoti Basu Jamana.

Democracy teaches tolerance; but, for the emerging scenario in West Bengal we see power corrupts at a faster rate than democracy teaches leading to tendencies of autocracy in governance. APDR appreciates the public denouncement of police actions against Mr. Shiladitya from various quarters of the society and demand for justice to him and his family including his unconditional release.

APDR further demands true sympathy and compassion for Shiladitya from our Hon’ble CM in admitting falsity of her public allegation against him as ‘a Maoist’ and compensate for losses incurred by him and his family.

APDR strongly denounces the campaign of hatred let loose by some very close cabinet colleagues of our Chief Minister against Human Rights movement, calculated to defend the wrongs done to their dissenters by the present government in the state. Surprisingly, they ‘loved’ Rights movement before May, 2011pre-poll Singur-Nandigram days.

Dhiraj Sengupta
(General Secretary)