01 November 2014

Police, ruling party goons attack Civic Police demonstrators

We strongly protest the illegal arrest, harassment and brutal behaviour of West Bengal Police administration along with ruling party supported goons against members of the West Bengal Civic Police Association in particular and unorganised sector workers as a whole. The West Bengal Civic Police Association is a member of Ossongothito Khetra Sramik Sangrami Manch. 

On October 31, more than 150 Civic Police assembled in a meeting near the Malda Town Hall with prior intimation to the administration to give deputation to the Superintendent of Police (SP) and District Magistrate (DM) of Malda district. After they assembled, without any reason the police arrested more than 140 Civic Police and confined them in English Bazar Police Station. Two of them, Mahesh Saha and Musaraf Hossen, were severely beaten up by the police and became seriously ill. They were taken to the Hospital by the police in haste. 

The deputation was to protest against the illegal dismissal of the entire civic police volunteer force in the district. The work of about 4,500 of them was stopped in June 2014 and they were not reinstated after that, despite of the fact that the Government’s order (GO no. 1940-PL/PB/3P-31/12) dated 14.07.2014, clearly mentioned that all of them should be reinstated and no new appointments should be made. The dismissed Civic Police of Malda wrote letters to the respective Police Stations and Superintendent of Police (SP) of Malda protesting the dismissal. They moved three writ petitions in Calcutta High Court. The Court ordered the SP of Malda on 5th, 19th & 25th of September 2014 either to reinstate them or explain why they are not eligible for the job of Civic Police within 4 weeks time. No action has been taken so far by the SP. 

According to the ASP Malda, the young men were arrested because Section 144 (banning assembly of more than 5 persons) had been imposed in the area. He claims that the civic volunteers were informed in writing about this, but had still persisted in having their meeting. The civic police on the other hand claim that they were informed that they were violating Section 144 just minutes before their arrest, without giving them even time to disperse.   Press reports on the 1st December claim that the DM and the Subdivisional Officer (SDO) who are empowered to declare Section 144 also had not idea about the impostion of Section 144. 

The Malda incident is a continuation of a series of actions being taken to suppress the movement of the civic police volunteers. Just a few days ago, on 29 October 2014 the Civic Police Association of Hooghly district organised a meeting at Arambagh Bus Terminal after giving prior information to SP, DM and IC Arambagh Police Station. When 300 of them assembled there, goons of the ruling party armed with lathis surrounded them and threatened them for dire consequences. The President of Hooghly district unit Subroto Hazra was confined till 7 pm and severely beaten up. Earlier Ramchandra Poria, father of Sanjay Poria, the President of the Association was threatened by armed goons of local ruling party to burn their house and belongings if Sanjay got involved in movement of Civic Police. Ramchnadra Poira was also told to stop his participation in the Paschim Banga khet Majoor Samity, another member organisation of the Ossongothito Khetra Sramik Sangrami Mancha. 

The Mancha has decided to organise a public meeting in Kolkata on 11-11-2014 to highlight various demands of unorganised sectors workers and the undemocratic situation prevailing in the state.
 We demand:
  1. Immediate reinstatement of dismissed Civic Police following Hon'be Calcutta High Court Order.
  2. Stop harassment and vicitimisation of Civic Police.
  3. Ensure gurrantee of constitutional right of  'Right to Association'.

Swapan Ganguly, Somenath Ghosh 
for Ossongothito Khetra Shramik Sangrami Mancha            

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