Bengal's victims move Rajnath, NHRC demanding protection
A platform of "cheated, oppressed and attacked" people in West Bengal Wednesday sought protection from home minister, NHRC chairman and state governor, saying they no longer had any faith in the state administration.
In identical letters to union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, NHRC chairman Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and state Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, "Aakranta Aamra' (We the Victims) said: "Our human rights and our right to free expression have been grossly violated."
Jadavpur University Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra said in the statement that they were attacked Aug 23 at the Diamond Harbour bus stand in South 24 Parganas district where they were holding a street workshop to protest against "statewide acts of rape, murder, oppression and for the protection of democracy".
"All of a sudden, some hooligans aligned with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) attacked the stage, snatched microphones, tore up electric wires, roughed us up and threatened us with murder. The local police stood as silent spectators. Only the common people stood by us," they said.
He said after the crowd dispersed, the "police and TMC hooligans surrounded us".
"These hooligans, with police by their side, harassed us on the way to the police station as well as inside it. The harassment and threats continued when we proceeded to tourist lodge Sagarika. We were forced to spend the night in the tourist lodge".
"The above incident is a clear case of the victims of various incidents being attacked again. Our human rights and our right to free expression have been grossly violated. The role of the local police is deplorable."
They said Aug 25, 36 hours after the incident, two of the culprits were arrested but charged with bailable offences and immediately got bail.
"Further, false complaints have been lodged against us at the police station. We believe the police are hand-in-glove with the hooligans. Thus, we are no longer able to keep faith with the state administration and have decided to seek your intervention for our protection," the statement said.
Mahapatra was earlier arrested for circulating emails mocking Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Other members of the group include Protima Dutta, wife of a murdered environmental activist Tapan Dutta and farmer Shiladitya Chowdhuri who was branded a Maoist by Banerjee and thrown behind bars for publicly questioning her about rising fertiliser prices.
(Posted on 28-08-2014)
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