The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Girl walks to freedom with politics vow

Behrampore, Nov. 1: Shampa Dasgupta, the student of Calcutta’s Gurudas College arrested for being a member of the People’s War, was released on bail after 80 days in custody.

Moments after she walked free on bail by the sub-divisional judicial magistrate here today in accordance with a October 30 ruling of the Calcutta High Court, Shampa vowed to return to “active politics”.

She was picked up from Murshidabad district’s Nowda area along with four others on August 11 and had since been at the central jail here. Shampa’s father, Nirmal Dasgupta, and mother Ratna were present when the magistrate granted the bail at 6 in the evening.

The family had to pay Rs 20,000 as bond. The Naxalite activist was released on condition that she will not travel out of Calcutta without the court’s permission. “I am involved in students’ politics and from now on, I will be involved in active politics. But first, I want to sit for my Part-II examinations,” Shampa said.

On her prison, which now goes by the name of Behrampore Central Correctional Centre, Shampa said the conditions were “poor”. “The food is not fit for human consumption.”

The final-year political science student said she was arrested for wrong reasons, but added: “The police did such things anyway.”

“On August 20, academics and intellectuals took out a procession in Calcutta demanding the release of political prisoners, I do not see why only Shampa should be released,” said her father.

Shampa had fared pretty well in her Part-I examinations and had begun preparations for her finals while in jail. “I think the state government has grown a little soft on the People’s War,” Dasgupta said.

Jail superintendent Dulal Chandra Saha rubbished Shampa’s complaints about the condition inside. “We had taken very good care of her and had accorded her all the facilities due to a political prisoner, I do not know why she said these things after her release,” Saha said.

He added that “she herself cooked with the other inmates in the prison kitchen and joined them during meals.”

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