Women who ‘liberated’ OC

NARESH JANA

Midnapore, Oct. 22: The government had opposed bail to the 14 Lalgarh women, whose release order won officer Atindranath Dutta his freedom today, though police have not been able to gather enough evidence against the accused.

Chandicharan Mahapatra, the public prosecutor in the Midnapore sessions court, said: “We didn’t oppose the bail because the police could not produce enough evidence .”

The women had been charged with rioting with arms and deadly weapons, preventing government servants from performing their duty, attempt to murder, waging a war against the state, raising funds and planning for such acts, sedition, the arms act and unlawful assembly. All the charges, except that of unlawful assembly, are non-bailable.

A source in the court said: “The police could not give an adequate injury report to prove that they were attacked with deadly weapons.”

The court also gave bail to seven men arrested on similar charges in Salboni. Their release was not part of the swap.

If somebody is charged under a bailable section, the police station concerned has the authority to release the accused on a personal recognition bond. In a case of non-bailable offence, the accused has to be produced in court within 24 hours of arrest and the judge decides if bail should be given. If the police are unable to file a chargesheet within 90 days of arrest, the accused gets bail.

The 14 women, aged between 20 and 40, were granted bail on a bond of Rs 2,000 each.

The order for their release was sent to the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court in Jhargram today. The women and one man, arrested with them, would be freed tomorrow from Midnapore Central Jail. Today was the scheduled hearing of the bail petition that the government told its lawyers not to oppose.

Suman Das Mahapatra, public prosecutor in the Jhargram court where the case was first heard, said: “The arrested women and the man directly helped the Maoists by attacking the police. That is why we had opposed the bail.”

On September 3, security forces had arrested the 15 after an alleged attack on the personnel at Tashebandh in Lalgarh. An officer said the police had gone to raid the village with information that Maoists injured in an encounter on September 2 were hiding there.

“When the security forces reached Tashebandh, a large number of villagers circled them. They were armed with bows and arrows, knives, choppers, bamboo sticks and pipe guns. They attacked us using the women as a shield. The police then raided Tashebandh and Bansber and arrested the 15,” said a police officer.

Police protest

Over 200 policemen today protested in front of West Midnapore police superintendent Manoj Verma’s office alleging the government was not bothered about two constables abducted by Maoists but released 15 people to get an OC freed.

“The government went out of its way to get Atindranath Dutta released but has done nothing for Kanchan Gorai and Sabir Mollah, abducted in Lalgarh on July 30,” said a policeman .

Sabir’s mother Jahanara Bibi has said she would speak to Kishanji for his release.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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