On 29th January 2024, students of the Revolutionary Students’ Front (RSF) in Kolkata, Shakhdeep and Abhinav Das, were arrested by the Bidhannagar police sent to jail till 1 February. Multiple democratic rights, such as Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) and student organizations were organizing a protest at the International Calcutta Book Fair where the police unleashed violence upon the protestors and detained 14 persons. Shakhdeep and Abhinav Das were among the detainees and later had cases lodged against them under Indian Penal Code’s 353, 186, 506 and 34. Incidences of police brutality and torture against the two have been also reported. As of our current knowledge, bail has been denied to the two on 30th January 2024 and they have now been moved to judicial custody until 1st February.
The matter began on 28th January 2024, when the students of RSF and many other social-political activists were holding a protest at the same International Calcutta Book Fair demanding the release of political prisoners Prashant Bose, Pramod Mishra, Sheela Marandi, Arun Kumar Bhattacharya, Jayita Das, Sabyasachi Goswami, Pratik Bhowmik, Montu Mallick, Manik Biswas and Amiruddin Ahmed. CASR released a statement regarding some of these arrests recently and how the Indian state continues to violate all legal procedure and makes a mockery of its democratic rights when it brands political activists with the redtag of “Maoism.” Some of these activists are in their late 70s, with their lives now in the custody of the same Indian state that enacted the custodial killings of Pandu Narote and 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy via medical negligence. The protest on 28th January sought to address the growing number of such arrests of political activists with the excuse of capturing “senior Maoist leaders.” The particular targets of these arrests are political activists struggling for the issues of the working class, the peasantry, oppressed women and castes as well as against the landgrab of Adivasis and the fight for jal-jangal-jameen.
The protest on 28th also sought the demand for immediate initiation of judicial process for these political activists, with many of them being stuck in police custody for days without any reports and information being released to their families and the public about their whereabouts. The protestors on 28th January too, were met with undemocratic suppression, with the police cancelling the protest at a short notice. The police attempted to snatch the phones of the activists and tried to undemocratically delete the recordings of their attacks on the activists during detention. During this same time period, the police failed to act when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) attacked political activists and book stall owners who had put up posters in solidarity with Palestinian national liberation movement in the same book fair. The Mamata Bannerjee-led West Bengal government’s compliance and service to the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist forces and their politics is visible in the way it treats pro-people democratic minded activists versus fascist mobs. The same Trinamool Congress West Bengal government has ensured that the fascist curtailment of democratic rights struggle and the overall curtailment of political dissent is ruthlessly pursued, with even the demand of release of political prisoners like Pramod Mishra, Prashant Bose, Sheela Marandi, Sabyasachi Goswami and others becoming an act warranting police brutality, torture and arrests of students.
CASR is deeply concerned about the wellbeing of Shakhdeep and Abhinav Das and condemns the police brutality and their politically motivated arrests.
CASR demands the immediate release of Shakhdeep, Abhinav Das and the release of all political prisoners!
CAMPAIGN AGAINST STATE REPRESSION(CASR)Constituents: AIRSO, AISA, AISF, APCR, BASF, BSM, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, bsCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, Forum Against Repression Telangana, Fraternity, IAPL, Innocence Network, Karnataka Janashakti, Progressive Lawyers Association, Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, NAPM, NBS, Nishant Natya Manch, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad, Smajwadi Lok Manch, Bahujan Samjavadi Manch, SFI, United Against Hate, United Peace Alliance, WSS, Y4S