regular-article-logo Thursday, 08 June 2023

Calcutta High Court grants unconditional bail to ISF MLA

The ruling came after state authorities failed to prove that Nawsad Siddique and his followers had attacked police during their protest

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 03.03.23, 05:48 AM
ISF MLA Nawsad Siddique.

ISF MLA Nawsad Siddique. File Picture

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted unconditional bail to Indian Secular Front MLA Nawsad Siddique, who, along with several of his party colleagues, had been arrested from Calcutta’s Esplanade on multiple charges, including attacking cops during a protest rally, on January 21.

The division bench of Justice Debangshu Basak and Justice Md Shabbar Rashidi granted bail to Siddique after state authorities failed to prove that the ISF Bhangar MLA and his followers had attacked police during their protest.


The incarceration of ISF MLA Siddique and his followers turned into a rallying point for all Opposition parties in Bengal. Several political and apolitical outfits hit the roads several times during his custody, decrying the administration’s alleged attempts to keep an elected public representative behind the bars for weeks.

Siddique’s bail came on a day the ruling Trinamul lost the bypoll in Sagardighi, a minority-dominated Assembly segment in Murshidabad district.

“The bail of Nawsad Siddique was the result of a fight by all progressive, secular and subaltern sections who consolidated their support for the ISF MLA and his followers,” said Prasenjit Bose, an economist and activist, who had headed one of the two massive protest rallies demanding the release of the ISF MLA and his supporters under the banner of the Joint Forum Against NRC on January 25 in Calcutta.

Another massive rally was brought out by the Left Front and a few apolitical platforms on February 14 in Calcutta to demand the release of the incarcerated ISF MLA and his followers.

Submitting the video footage of the January 21 protest rally, the state government had tried to convince the court that the ISF workers mounted a violent attack on the cops after being provoked by Siddique, but it was not enough to convince the judges.

During the brief hearing of the bail plea, public prosecutor Saswata Mukherjee said the reports from Indian Forensic Science Laboratory on some items seized from the protest venue had not reached the police yet.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the counsel of the ISF MLA, claimed the police were unnecessarily trying to keep his client behind bars for a long time, denying him natural justice. “The mob became furious when police unnecessarily resorted to lathi charge and burst teargas shells aiming at them,” Bhattacharya argued during the hearing.

“The police have failed to prove the guilt of the accused. So this court is granting bail to the petitioner (Siddique),” said Justice Basak after hearing both sides of the argument.

As Siddique got bail on Thursday, it is being hoped that his followers would also get the same relief from the court soon as the charges against them were similar, sources said.

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