CPI(ML) Red Star leader Alik Chakraborty was on Saturday brought before Sessions II Court in Baruipur and remanded to 10 days’ police custody.
Chakraborty, who was spearheading the agitation in Bhangar against the construction of a power sub-station, was arrested Thursday from a Bhubaneswar hospital by a joint team of Baruipur and Orissa police. Chakraborty, who is suffering from Crohn’s disease, had gone to the hospital for treatment.
The Red Star leader was brought to Baruipur court at 6 am on Saturday under the cover of darkness by police, say members of CPI(ML) Red Star. He was kept in court lock-up for eight hours before being produced in court.
“We had demanded that Alik be admitted to hospital for treatment, but the court turned down the lawyer’s request,” said Red Star leader Sharmistha Chowdhury, who herself faces charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Chakraborty was booked by police under a number of sections including murder, Explosive Substances Act and UAPA. After the hearing, he was whisked away from court premises — where a number of his supporters were raising the slogan of ‘lal salam’ — and taken to Baruipur police station.
While the cases against Chakraborty have been filed under Kashipur police station, sources said police were apprehensive of housing him in the Kashipur lock-up due to its proximity to the agitating villages.
“Alik’s arrest has definitely been a set back for the movement. But the truth is that the movement has taken on proportions larger than any one leader. This arrest has added fuel to fire and gotten the backs of the villagers up. There have been agitations and protests against the arrest, which will only escalate. The state government has been brazen in dealing with the movement – from the shooting of villagers in January 2017 to arresting agitators, including myself, immediately after the shooting and slapping UAPA cases against us.”
“Alik’s arrest has simply been the last straw. And the arrest was also made so soon after the panchayat polls, in which five of our members have won. If there were free and fair elections, we would have won in the entire Bhangar II area. While the construction of the power plant remains the core issue, the movement has now gone beyond that. It is about resistance to an authoritarian rule and allowing the people to have a say in their own lives and their future, which this government has not permitted,” said Chowdhury.