Statement from poets, academics, and activists on Swapan Dasgupta’s death in UAPA custody

February 3, 2010

Statement from group of academics, poets, authors and activists from Kolkata

Swapan Dasgupta has died in jail custody. He was publisher cum editor of a Bengali periodical. It was registered under the Government of India’s Registration of Newspapers Act and was not proscribed. Yet on 6 October 2009 he was arrested under the U.A.P.A. At the time of arrest he was suffering from asthma and other complicated diseases, which fact was not unknown to the administration. Did he get any immediate treatment in custody or was it neglect and lack of attention and care that eventually brought about his death? We think a thorough and trustworthy inquiry into that is necessary. The Supreme Court has given certain human rights to all prisoners: we also demand an impartial investigation of how much of those rights were made available to Swapan Dasgupta, or for that matter, are being made available to other prisoners under the same Act. This was not the first death in jail custody in this state, rather an addition to almost a series. The event once again reminds us that under democracy’s cover it is really in a police state that we are living. In the perspective of this terrible death, we demand a total end to all such repressive and revengeful measures.

Asok Sen,  social scientist
Sankha Ghosh, poet
Alokeranjan Dasgupta, poet
Amiya Dev, academic
Samar Bagchi, scientist
Sourin Bhattacharya, author
Swapan Majumdar, academic
Pranab Biswas, critic
Rusati Sen, author
Aveek Majumdar, poet


Sanhati Statement

Swapan Dasgupta, editor and publisher of the Bengali edition of the political magazine People’s March passed away on 2nd February, while he was in the custody of West Bengal police. He had been arrested in October 2009 under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for allegedly publishing Maoist literature, along with other political activists. Till date, he had not been chargesheeted. As per the official records, People’s March is a legal publication and therefore not a banned literature as claimed by sections of mainstream press.

Swapan Dasgupta was suffering from blood cancer and according to activists in West Bengal, he was not provided with the necessary medical attention, including crucial blood transfusions, while he was in custody. He was hospitalized in the month of January 2010, only when his condition became critical because of the lack of proper treatment. Therefore, his death is a case of utter negligence, if not an instance of premeditated systemic violence, by the state apparatus which seems determined to eliminate voices of dissent in one way or the other. Such circumstances also make this incident the first case of custodial death under the UAPA. We strongly condemn the role of the state in the death of Swapan Dasgupta and demand that the UAPA be repealed without further delay, and people arrested under UAPA be released.

Swapan Dasgupta’s body will be taken out from Peace Haven in Kolkata at 10 am on 3rd Febuary 2010. There will be a protest march at the Kolkata book fair, starting at 4.00 pm from the APDR stall, followed by a condolence/protest meet at the Mont Marte open stage from 5.45-6.45 pm.



4 Responses to “Statement from poets, academics, and activists on Swapan Dasgupta’s death in UAPA custody”

  1. Arijit Ganguly Says:
    February 7th, 2010 at 17:55

    An Immediate enquery or Legal appeal for the investigation was expected from any of the Human Rights Organisation mainly from APDR, the stronghold in West Bengal.

  2. Dr Hiren Gohain Says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 12:13

    Such incidents appear no longer to ruffle feathers.Some young and enterprising people ought to take up this issue and mobilise support for stringent legislation to bring to the book officials who casually murder people in detention.It is not impossible.A signature campaign to collect one thousand signatures eventually sent to the Lok Sabha speaker and the CJI as well as Chairman,Human Rights Commission might have someffect.HG.

  3. Suvendu Das Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 18:52

    What one shall expect from the state?


    What one shall do about it?

    Get organised and raise the voice agaist the State repression.This will continue till date the death of the state itself.

    Whether Swapan Dasgupta’s views were right,who decides.Another death by State repression.

    Raise the voice against it.As a person I always do so.

  4. Tapas Chakraborty Says:
    September 30th, 2011 at 05:32

    Second death of a person charged under UAPA in West Bengal.Ranjit Murmu(55)died on 25/09/2011 at NRS Hospital,Kolkata.We should our voice along eith Swapan Dusgupta

    Tapas Chakraborty Vice President APDR

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