Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Bengal: Custody Extended for DYFI’s Meenakshi Mukherjee, 16 Others; ‘Police Torture’ Alleged

Protests grow as serious charges are slapped against the youth leaders, who were protesting on Feb 26 against alleged murder of youth leader Anis Khan by police personnel.
Bengal: Custody Extended for DYFI’s Meenakshi Mukherjee, 16 Others; ‘Police Torture’ Alleged

Kolkata: Prominent youth leader and president of West Bengal Demorcatic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) Meenakshi Mukherjee, along with 16 other activists, continue to be denied bail for alleged violence during a march in Howrah to protest the ‘murder’ of youth leader Anis Khan.

Across the state, there is growing anger against the ‘vindictive’ attitude of the Mamata Banerjee-led state government, which has slapped attempt to murder and other charges on Mukherjee and other protesters. Incidentally, Mukherjee had contested against Banerjee from the Nandigram constituency in the 2017 Assembly elections as a candidate of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The police has cited a slight injury to a police personnel in the protest held on February 26, for lodging an attempt to murder case against the DYFI leader and 16 others. 

Meanwhile, DYFI sources have alleged ‘custodial torture’ in Pachla police station lock-up in Howrah of some of its leaders.

Incidentally, Soumya Roy, a top police official in the Howrah rural district, is the husband of a ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator and one of the blue eyed boys of the Chief Minister. The protest had also demanded the removal of Roy from his post for his alleged involvement in the murder of Khan.

The family of Khan has alleged that a uniformed policeman along with three civic police volunteers had “forcibly” entered home in Amta village on the night of February 18 looking for him, soon after which he was found lying on the ground. The family suspects that Khan was pushed off the roof, and has demanded a CBI probe.

According to primary reports, the jailed DYFI leaders, while in police custody, were allegedly “stripped and beaten black and blue” for “daring to participate in anti- government protests in the state”, said DYFI sources.

Rreportedl, a second medical test was conducted on the jailed youth leaders for evidence of police torture in custody.  On Friday, senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, called for the release of the DYF leaders from jail custody, but the district judge of Howrah court remanded them to three more days in jail custody.

 In a case of “misrepresentation”, the government lawyers alleged in court that the protest participants had thrown bombs at the police. However, as per purported video evidence, it was the police who had done “brutal lathicharge” on the protesters, injuring over 150 of them, said youth activists.

Meanwhile, Mukherjee’s parents recently visited Anis Khan’s father Salaam Khan and demanded justice for the later youth leader. They later informed the press that they were proud of their daughter and the fact that Khan was “murdered” by the police should not be diluted.

Meanwhile, the Left Front is continuing with its protests throughout the state demanding exemplary punishment to Khan’s killers and immediate release of the DYFI leaders. Huge rallies were held in various districts, including in Siliguri of Darjeeling district, on Friday.

 With regard to the death of Anis Khan, a front-ranking student leader of Alia University, the local residents have alleged that he was “murdered by the police” for his role in leading the anti-NRC (National Register of Citizens) movement. He was at present also leading a protest in Alia university against the role of the state government and was an active member of the Indian Secular Front, an ally of the Left Front in the Assembly elections last year.

Later, an SIT enquiry found that police personnel from the local police station along with civic police personnel did visit Anis Khan in his home and allegedly “pushed” the student leader from the 2nd floor. 

Two police personnel of the Amta police station have been arrested by the special investigative team (SIT) set up to look into the alleged murder. However the police personnel reportedly said they were acting on orders from their higher ups. The OC of the local police station, Debabrata Chakraborty, has been asked to go on indefinite leave but is yet to be arrested. Neither has Roy, the police superintendent in Howrah Rural,  been relieved of his post yet. Under these circumstances,  Khan’s father has demanded a CBI  probe, which the TMC government seems hesitant to comply with. 

Body exhumed for second time

Last Monday, the West Bengal police, in the presence of a second district judge of Howrah court, exhumed the body of Khan for the second time on orders  from Calcutta High Court, nine days after the  27-year-old was buried.

The HC’s suo motu notices on February 21 and February 24 ordered a second post- mortem amid concerns that the first examination of the body was botched up.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram