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Arbitrary arrest and false charges by West Bengal Police

Ms. Sharmistha Choudhury
General Secretary, AIRWO
West Bengal

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on Januarary 26, 2017, regarding the illegal and arbitrary arrest of human rights defender Ms. Sharmistha Choudhury on fabricated charges by the West Bengal police. Ms. Choudhury is a central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star and General Secretary of the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation (AIRWO).

The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited is constructing the Rajarhat 400/220 KV substation to transmit power between West Bengal and Purnia in Bihar. The transmission lines from Rajarhat will pass over 80 villages of seven districts of West Bengal. The villagers are demanding that the land occupied by the transmission towers be returned to them. On January 17, 2017, two young persons were shot dead because of brutal police attacks during the protests. According to the villagers, at least six men are missing since this attack and several others have sustained serious injuries.

As per sources, Ms.  Choudhury was arrested from Panapukur village by West Bengal police on January 25, 2017, at about 6.30 PM and was brought to New Town Police Station for interrogation. She was arrested on false charges for allegedly instigating villagers and is charged under Sections 147/148/149/325/326/307/333/353/186/435/379/427/506/120B of IPC, read with 3/4 Explosives Act, 25/27 Arms Act, 3/4 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, and 9 of Maintenance of Public Order Act along with another 36 persons in the FIR.

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