KOLKATA: The metropolitan magistrate’s court on Monday extended the police custody term of 32 Nonadanga anti-eviction activists for five more days. All these activists, including Mazdoor Kranti Parishad general secretary Amitava Bhattacharya, were arrested from Esplanade last Wednesday for staging demonstration and demanding rehabilitation of the Nonadanga evictees. Police charged them for assaulting police and assembling illegally.
The activists were sent to police custody as the prosecution alleged that they had plotted an armed chaos at Nonadanga and needed a thorough interrogation. On Monday, they were once again produced before the court where the investigation agency could not provide any evidence in favour of an armed chaos. But hinting at a link with the banned Maoist outfit, it was argued that police need more time to verify the identity of the activists as cops suspect the arrested persons are not from Nonadanga slum.
Ironically, Bhattacharya and his party was one of the close associates of chief minister Mamata Banerjee during her Singur movement. Demanding immediate release of all these activists and condemning the ‘state repression’, members of rights organization APDR took out a rally from College Street to Esplanade on Monday evening.
Earlier with same argument police arrested scientist Partho Sarathi Ray and hinted his maoist links. But with the mounting pressure from different quarters of the society across the globe, government bowed down and released Ray.