People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 23

June 09, 2013


Thousands Court Arrest in West Bengal


TENS of thousands of people courted arrest in mass civil disobedience in West Bengal on May 31 as part of a countrywide action programme. The programme, led by the Left Front, highlighted eight demands, specifically including food security, return of money of betrayed depositors of a chit fund, judicial enquiry into the custodial death of SFI leader Sudipta Gupta, strong steps to protect the dignity of women, and defence of democratic rights in the state. Thousands of Left activists gathered at district headquarters and in Kolkata where the state Left Front leaders participated in the court arrest action.


In Kolkata, the programme became more important as Kolkata police had suddenly banned all kinds of law violation programme in the city, though civil disobedience was always a part of democratic movement in the state, used by almost all political parties. The Left Front decided to defy the ban and on Friday afternoon thousands of people gathered in Rani Rashmoni Road. Unprecedented police arrangements were visible; the police virtually cordoned the entire area with barricades, RAF and water cannons. In a public meeting before law breaking, Left Front leaders asserted that it was the state government which was violating the laws one after another. The democratic rights of the people are under attack. Opposition parties are barred from filing nominations in panchayat elections. They said more militant actions will be organised to thwart the undemocratic attacks on the people. Biman basu, Asoke Ghose, Suryakanta Misra, Khiti Goswami and others addressed the meeting.


Left Front leaders, led by Biman Basu, courted arrest in the first batch. Left Front activists peacefully lined up. The police was forced to bring an executive magistrate on the spot and declared that those arrested were granted bail without condition. But police officers refused to register all activists as arrested. Biman Basu announced that a sit-in would be started in that case. After nearly one hour of sit-in, Left Front leaders requested the activists to disperse.


Civil disobedience was conducted in all districts. More than 40 thousands participated in Burdwan, more than 10 thousands in Birbhum. In South Dinajpur more than 10 thousands participated. In North 24 Parganas a procession came to the district magistrate’s office and courted arrest. In Purulia, Basudeb Acharia was among those participated in Purulia.