Skip to main content

Fundamental right to free and peaceful assembly brutally violated in Kolkata

By Krishna Bandyopadhyay, Rangta Munshi* 
On Monday, the 29th of January 2024, at 6:45 p.m. in the evening, a peaceful assembly of citizens of India, at the Kolkata International Book Fair held at Karunamoyee, Salt Lake, was brutally attacked by police officers from Bidhan Nagar North P.S. acting at the behest of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild, and with the complicit involvement of superior police officers. Senior citizens were beaten to the ground, their glasses were destroyed. Male police officers, in the absence of female officers, physically beat up women and even bit into a female comrade's hand, drawing blood.
Police officers from Bidhan Nagar North P.S. have unleashed a brutal regime of police terror upon peaceful citizens who wanted to submit a deputation to the Publishers and Booksellers Guild, protesting the incidents on Sunday, 28th Jan, one day prior, where Bidhan Nagar North Police are implicated already.
As the country's oldest human rights organisation,  we, the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, vehemently oppose this autocratic police terror employed against peacefully protesting citizens of India.
Police have not worn their name tags in violation of legal procedure. Police officers have been lying under oath, with ridiculous false and even unconstitutional  statements such as, "The Book Fair has permanent application of Sec 144 of IPC", among others. 
Police officers made citizens of India sign on blank arrest memos, where any offence suiting the police's tastes may be applied without any real basis whatsoever.
We demand urgent and immediate action to be taken according to law. We demand that police officers who assaulted women be punished as per law. We demand the malpractice and high handed terror tactics employed by police be punished to the strictest extent as per law. We demand swift and unbiased judicial probe into the unconstitutional and illegal actions of the police.
Earlier, on Sunday the 28th of January 2024, at 5:30 p.m., a peaceful protest at the Kolkata International Bookfair, Karunamoyee, Salt Lake City, was brutally attacked by officers from Bidhan Nagar North Police Station, in front of Gate Number 5 of the Book Fair. 9 students have been arrested, they have been whisked away on false charges, for medical examination. An arrest memo has not been served. The charges and corresponding sections under which they have been arrested have not been communicated to them.
What little has been communicated by the police at the moment of arrest was that this happened on the instruction of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild. 
In a public space, the fundamental right to free and peaceful assembly as enshrined in Section III of the Indian Constitution has been brutally violated by Bidhan Nagar North P.S. officers acting at the behest of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild and/or with the complicit involvement of superior police officers, all of whom have violated one of the fundamental tenets of the law.
We waited outside Bidhan Nagar North P.S. Bidhan Nagar North P.S. has gathered other officers and a detention van bearing the insignia WB Police Barasat PD. We did not know if we would be arrested as we waited.
The Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), as the country’s oldest human rights organisation, strongly condemns this brutal repression of the fundamental right to peaceful assembly. We demand the immediate release of those detained unlawfully, without the blatantly lawless slapping of spurious and baseless charges against them. In our 52 - year history, we have noticed countless such instances of mindless and unlawful brutal police crackdown on free speech and expression and on peaceful assembly. We condemn this in the strictest terms.
*Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights



A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

Why convert growing badminton popularity into an 'inclusive sports opportunity'

By Sudhansu R Das  Over the years badminton has become the second most popular game in the world after soccer.  Today, nearly 220 million people across the world play badminton.  The game has become very popular in urban India after India won medals in various international badminton tournaments.  One will come across a badminton court in every one kilometer radius of Hyderabad.  

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Faith leaders agree: All religious places should display ‘anti-child marriage’ messages

By Jitendra Parmar*  As many as 17 faith leaders, together for an interfaith dialogue on child marriage in New Delhi, unanimously have agreed that no faith allows or endorses child marriage. The faith leaders advocated that all religious places should display information on child marriage.