Rights group slams West Bengal government, police

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Thursday slammed the West Bengal government and police for the recent cases involving the death of a student activist in police custody and the chaining of another to his hospital bed.

“Such barbaric acts are extremely reprehensible and PUCL condemns this action of the state police and hospital authorities,” PUCL said in a statement.

Santosh Sahani, a first year BA student arrested April 10 for participating in a students’ rally that turned violent, was kept chained to his hospital bed for two days by police.

Attacking the state police for false prosecutions, arrests and intimidation, PUCL stressed that the police also needed to conduct fair, unbiased and independent investigation into the custodial death of Sudipta Gupta, a Students’ Federation of India (SFI) leader who died in police custody in Kolkata April 2.

“Anything less will be in violation of the Constitution. No political party, especially if it is also the ruling party, can be allowed to violate the Constitution with impunity,” it said.

The rights group further said that it was “extremely concerned” about the repeated incidents of police high-handedness and state apathy in West Bengal.

It also criticized the government for not ensuring fair and independent investigation into the vandalism at the city’s prestigious Presidency University, allegedly by the ruling Trinamool Congress party’s students wing activists.

PUCL demanded the setting up of an independent Special Investigations Team under the direct monitoring of the judiciary to investigate all cases and also demanded the release of all the SFI activists and advocated action against all officials responsible for the chaining of Sahani.

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