Arrested student chained to hospital bed, CPI-M to move rights panel

Kolkata, April 16 (IANS) Deploring the chaining of an arrested student activist to his hospital bed in West Bengal, the CPI-M Tuesday threatened to move the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the “inhuman behaviour of police”.

“This is inhuman and barbaric and reflects the attitude of the government, which is determined to crush the voice of the opposition at any cost. We will move the National Human Rights Commission against this barbarism of police,” CPI-M leader Asok Bhattacharya said.

Santosh Sahani, a first year student, was arrested earlier this month for participating in a students’ rally that turned violent.

Sahani, a leader of the CPI-M affiliated Students Federation of India, was Monday admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri in Darjeelisng district, after he complained of illness.

As the activist was remanded to judicial custody by a court, police chained his leg to the hospital bed using a handcuff.

CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose condemned the incident and accused police of pressurising Sahani to get back to jail.

“This is inhuman and barbaric. He is not a dreaded criminal that police had to chain him. This is yet another glaring example of this government’s relentless attack on democracy,” said Bose.

Siliguri Police Commissioner Anand Kumar blamed the jail authorities.

“Sahani is under judicial custody and police have nothing to do with this. He is under the custody of jail authorities and they are the ones to answer why he was chained,” said Kumar.

Kumar conceded that such an extreme step was used only in cases of hardened criminals who might abscond.

Following continuous broadcasting of videos by the media showing a chained Sahani and the growing criticism, police later removed the handcuff.

Meanwhile, human rights organisation Association for Protection of Human Rights (APHR) will not only move a complaint against the police to the NHRC but will also complain against the hospital authorities before the Medical Council of India (MCI).

“How can hospital authorities allow police too chain him? This is not only inhuman and barbaric, but is unethical and goes against the principles of the medical profession. We will complain about this to the MCI,” APHR secretariat member Ranjit Sur said.

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