Civil rights group Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) Wednesday launched a stinging attack on West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee government alleging that democracy was in peril while the voices of “dictatorship” were becoming audible.
Recalling that Banerjee had been speaking the “language of democracy” and showing a humane face ahead of the April-May assembly polls, APDR, in a statement, charged her with having hoodwinked the people by making false promises to win elections.
“Alas! People could not distinguish between the face and the mask. Or they were misled by brilliant acting,” the statement said, demanding Banerjee fulfil her pre-poll promise of releasing all political prisoners, withdrawing joint forces from Maoist-hit Junglemahal (forested stretches in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts) and punishing all police officers involved in staged shootouts.
“From May, till date, only seven political prisoners have been freed, that too on bail. Instead of withdrawing the joint security forces, a sort of Salwa Judum (an anti-Maoist militia operating in Chhattisgarh) was beign created by roping in Junglemahal people in police jobs.
“Earlier she had promised probe into fake encounters and punishment of the guilty. But now we find these police officers wielding lot of clout and even adorned with police medals,” the statement said.
The APDR started a two-day hunger strike and sit-in in the city Wednesday to press for the three demands, and would submit a memorandum to Banerjee Friday.
Two days back, renowned writer Mahasweta had termed the state government “fascist”, after the APDR alleged that it had been denied permission to hold the protest programme at Metro channel area in the city hub.
The chief minister had retorted saying the writer was “misinformed and misled”. “This has also not gone down well with me,” said Banerjee.
APDR president Sachidananda Banerjee alleged that “voice of dictatorship” was becoming audible.
“We had agitated alongside Banerjee and her party for four-five years before the Left Front was voted out. Then we did not even imagine that we have to hit the roads against her government so soon. This is the magic of power,” he said.
He also denied Mamata Banerjee’s charge that APDR was a frontal wing of the Maoists. “This is baseless. We have no links with Maoists. We don’t support killings or violence in any form,” he said.