Calcutta, Aug. 27: Nearly 150 inmates of Alipore and Dum Dum jails who were arrested for alleged links with Maoists and rebel-related criminal activities today observed a token hunger strike to protest the passing of the West Bengal Correctional Services (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
The bills seeks to bar people having links with terrorist organisations and those involved in divisive activities from getting political prisoner status.
Some employees of the two jails said the prisoners had threatened an indefinite hunger strike.
Police sources said more than 700 Maoist-linked people are lodged in jails across the state, including around 250 arrested during the Trinamul government’s tenure,
A Special Task Force official said: “None of the CPI (Maoist) members behind bars will be able to apply for political prisoner status any more.”
APDR secretariat member Ranjit Sur said: “We will launch a movement against the bill and seek the support of all political parties other than the ruling party.”
The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, a forum of rights activists, had sent a letter last week to Mamata Banerjee opposing the bill.
The Bandi Mukti Committee today held a day-long programme at College Square to protest the bill.
Minister Partha Chatterjee justified the amendment. “There is no hidden agenda in our effort. We have released many more prisoners in the past two years compared with the previous regime,” he said.