Legal help for men arrested in UP
The Bengal government has apparently come forward to provide lawyers for the release of six Malda youths who were arrested by Uttar Pradesh police in connection with violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Lucknow earlier this month.
Sources said cases related to the six waiters from Harischandrapur I block in the Malda district would come up for hearing in court on Thursday.
“What we came to know was that they (the arrested six) don’t have money to appoint lawyers. The state government has decided to extend legal support to them so that they can file bail pleas at the earliest. It is yet to be finalised how the government would proceed to help them,” said a senior Bengal government official.
Sources said the youths had been arrested in the Hazratganj police station area of Lucknow and it was still not clear whether they were in police custody or judicial remand.
Sources in the law and judicial departments said the state could send a team of lawyers from its panel in Calcutta to ensure that the poor labourers could present their cases in the court.
“For this, the state has to appoint an advocate-on-record in the court concerned to file the bail petition. Once the petition is filed, lawyers from the state panel can take up the case. The state has a number of expert lawyers to fight criminal cases,” said a source.
Once the families of the youths came to know about the state’s decision to extend legal assistance, there was a sense of relief at Dangila and Janamdol villages in Harischandrapur 1 block from where they had travelled to Lucknow in search of livelihood.
While Khairul Haque, Saledul Haque, Sanjur Haque and Sagar Ali belong to Dangila village, Aslam Sheikh and Mohammad Shah Alam are from Janamdol. Parents of the six thanked chief minister Mamata Banerjee for extending the much required help.
“So far, we were clueless because we didn’t know how we could get our sons back. We are not that literate and not affluent enough to appoint lawyers in Lucknow. We thank the chief minister because she understood the pain of poor people like us,” said Mohammed Huda, the father of Khairul and Saledul.
Residents of Dangila said around 150 youths from the village alone worked in Lucknow and most of them were engaged as waiters.
Abdul Kalam, the father of Aslam Sheikh, claimed that his son had been framed on false charges and thanked the Bengal government for the legal assistance.
“They were mere waiters. They neither have guts to participate in violence nor the time to work for any organisation, whether legal or illegal. We have heard that Mamata Banerjee is concerned about migrant workers and it is good that she has promised help so that we get back our sons, who are innocent,” said Kalam.
On Tuesday, Tazmul Hossain, a Trinamul leader and a functionary of the Malda zilla parishad, visited the villages and spoke to the families of the youths. He informed them about the state’s decision to help the youths put behind bars in UP.
Mrityunjay Das, a legal activist based in Malda, said his associates were also in touch with the families. “We have met them and have collected detailed information about the youths. Now that the state has planned to engage lawyers for them, we would take some of the family members to Uttar Pradesh. There, they can meet their sons and consult with the lawyers who would be deputed by the state to contest the cases,” said Das.