Police on Thursday announced the arrest of CPI(ML) Red Star leader Alik Chakraborty from Bhubaneswar.
Forty-five-year-old Chakraborty’s arrest is significant as he is considered to be the backbone of the agitation in Bhangar, 33 km from Kolkata, against the state government’s plans to build a power sub-station. The protests, sources in the ruling Trinamool Congress claimed, had caused much embarrassment to the party.
The area had witnessed violence last year and also before and during the panchayat polls earlier in May. His support is also considered crucial to the Jomi Jibika Poribesh O Bastutantra Rakhsa Committee (JJPOBRC), which spearheads the protest. According to sources, Chakraborty suffers from Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract) and was in
CPI(ML) Red Star’s Alik Chakraborty held in Odisha Bhubaneshwar for treatment. “He has been arrested by the Baruipur police and local Odisha police, there are lot of cases against him, including murder”, SP (Baruipur) Arijit Sinha told The Indian Express, adding that they would ensure treatment for Chakraborty. “He will be produced in an Odisha court tomorrow and then will be brought to Kolkata on transit remand.”
Other police sources said Chakraborty had earlier been booked under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] and Explosive Substance Act. Another UAPA warrant against him, they said, is also pending with Kharadah police station of North 24 Paraganas district. The arrest, police sources said, comes after months of surveillance as Chakraborty had been in hiding inside Bhangar villages where the police faced stiff resistance from residents. Recently, they received information that Chakraborty was likely to leave the city.
“Alik Chakraborty is a very sick man and he has been leading the Bhangar movement with this illness,” said party general secretary K N Ramachandran from New Delhi. “He has been kept in Chandrashekharpur police station in Bhubaneswar. He had gone to Bhubaneswar to receive urgent treatment and he was picked up from the hospital. We will be appearing in court tomorrow when he is produced and will be demanding that he be released immediately and sent to the hospital to complete his treatment.”
He added that the party has called an emergency central committee meeting in New Delhi after receiving news of the arrest. “Demonstrations have already begun in Bhubaneswar and in West Bengal. We have invited all the Left Fronts to take part in these demonstrations,” he said.
The JJPOBRC had supported nine candidates in the panchayat polls, most of whom had filed their nominations to the Polerhat-II gram panchayat seats through WhatsApp following violence in the area. In the run up to the polls, the death of a man during a rally in Bhangar saw Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordering the arrest of local Trinamool strongman Arabul Islam. Five of the nine candidates later went on to win their seats with overwhelming majority.