Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023

Held for march near Mamata Banerjee’s home, 4 more get bail: ‘We’re job seekers, what’s our mistake?’

On Saturday, 55 women who were arrested in connection with the same protest were granted bail.

women protesters granted bail, Protest outside CM home, west bengal, Mamata Banerjee, Indian Penal Code, non-bailable IPC sections, indian express newsOne of those arres)ted at Alipore court, Saturday. (Express File Photo

A Kolkata court on Monday granted bail to four teaching job seekers – all men – who were in jail following their arrest from Kolkata’s Kalighat area while they were protesting outside Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence. On Saturday, 55 women who were arrested in connection with the same protest were granted bail. The court had then directed that the four male protesters should be kept in jail till December 25.

One of them, Devabrata Singh Mahapatra of Barrackpore who holds an M.Sc degree, said, ” I don’t know what mistake I did. We were arrested, taken to a police lockup and were later produced in the Alipore court. We were lodged in jail. I had to stay in horrible conditions. I have an M.Sc in physics. I am a job seeker, all of us are job seekers. What was our mistake?”

The protesters had gathered at the Hazra crossing on Friday afternoon. Some of them allegedly broke the police cordon and started marching towards the Chief Minister’s residence from the gate that leads to Kalighat temple on the opposite side. The police soon stopped the protesters before arresting them on a slew of charges, including under the non-bailable section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that pertains to deterring a public servant from discharging his duty, unlawful assembly under section 143 of the IPC and voluntarily obstructing a public servant from discharging his public functions.


As many as 59 protesters were sent to the central lockup in Lalbazar, where they spent Friday night. They were produced before Alipore court on Saturday that sent them to judicial custody for two days. The police plea seeking their custody was rejected by the court. The 55 women were granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 2,000. However, the judge directed them to appear in court again on December 30.

On Saturday, the government lawyer told the court that there was “police presence” in the Kalighat area after the announcement about the protest rally. The agitators suddenly started moving towards the VIP zone, the court was told. As many as nine policemen were injured in the confrontation that followed, the lawyer claimed. However, after hearing both parties, the judge dismissed the police plea seeking custody of the protesters.

Festive offer

Reacting to the issue, artist Samir Aich said on Monday, “They are doing this to “warn” protesters. Such actions are an insult to the common people. Innocent students are being sent to jail.”

The mother of one of the arrested protesters claimed, “My son was not part of the protest but he was also arrested. He had gone to buy medicines for his father. The allegation that he was involved in a scuffle with the police is baseless.”


The family members of another protester, Mritunjay Ahmed, also raised similar allegations. His wife Jhuma Parveen said that Ahmed mentioned the protest to her. He was supposed to return home after buying milk. Jhuma said that Ahmed’s father and mother are both ailing and bedridden. On the day of the incident, she claims that she could not contact her husband despite repeated calls. She also claimed that she was informed about his arrest only on Saturday.

“The common people are observing everything… How the careers of these job seekers have ended while certain people made crores of rupees by selling those jobs,” said BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya.

“It was a peaceful protest to press for legitimate demands. The police arrested the protesters but if in three days, they couldn’t find any relevant evidence, they have no right to probe the matter,” said CPI (M) MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya.

First published on: 26-12-2023 at 05:03 IST
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