The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Out of jail, activist lists 'plotters'
- Freed on bail of Rs 55, imprisoned NGO worker smells conspiracy by police and govt

Siliguri, Oct. 30: Social activist Debashis Chakraborty today said his arrest on the basis of 'trumped up' charges was an attempt to malign Siliguri Welfare Organisation (SWO) and Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), the two NGOs that he has been closely associated with.

A day after the Siliguri chief judicial magistrate's court granted him bail, Chakraborty told reporters here that at no stage in his 14-year long association with the two organisations has he indulged in any sort of anti-national activity. 'Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya has called me an anti-national, but he should have thought twice (before levelling such serious charges),' said the 35-year-old activist.

Chakraborty was arrested from his Hyderpara office on July 29 and booked under Sections 121, 121(a) and 121(b) of the Indian Penal Code for 'waging war against the state.' He was granted bail after the police failed to file a chargesheet against him within the stipulated 90-day period.

Flanked by his colleagues from the APDR and SWO, a sombre-looking Chakraborty accused the police, including the officers of the Intelligence agencies, of applying tremendous mental pressure on him to admit to guilt which he did not commit. 'I had gone to Nepal in 1994 on a tour. The superintendent of police (Darjeeling) accused me of going there to meet Maoist leaders,' he alleged.

Regarding police allegations that he had helped Maoists secure access to medical facilities in Siliguri, the social activist said it is a credo of the two organisations not to ask for people's antecedents when they come to seek help. 'I am not denying I have taken people to nursing homes, but that was part of my job as a social worker,' said Chakraborty.

Not satisfied with the bail given to Chakraborty, the APDR and SWO have decided to continue with the agitation until the case against him is dropped completely. 'He has been granted bail. But the case is yet to be withdrawn,' said A. Bhaduri, SWO secretary.

He also blamed the Left Front government, particularly the CPM, of arresting Chakraborty to create pressure on the NGOs. 'His getting bail, that too for Rs 55, after being booked under very stringent provisions of the law proves us right.'

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