Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swapan Dasgupta expires while in UAPA custody - A 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 We strongly condemn the role of the state in the death of Swapan Dasgupta and demand that the UAPA be repealed without further delay, and people arrested under UAPA be released.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.


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