West Bengal: Left activist arrested in 5-year-old case under UAPA

Tipu Sultan, alias Mustafa Kamal

Tipu Sultan, alias Mustafa Kamal, a former student leader at Visva Bharati University and a left-political activist was arrested by West Bengal police in a five-year-old case under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

On Wednesday, the cops in a midnight raid, stormed the house of Tipu Sultan and whisked him away from his residence in Gurupally, Santiniketan in Birbhum district, according to a GroundXero.in report.

Tipu was produced in Jhargram court on Thursday and the court remanded the activist in police custody for seven days.

The family members, activists and several rights organisations condemned the arrest and have alleged that Tipu has been falsely tagged to a five year old case with the sole purpose of harassing and intidiminate him into silence.

When the time of midnight raid and subsequent arrest, Tipu was not given a custody memo as per Section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the police did not say where he was being taken or whether he was arrested or not, Groundxero.in reports.

Human rights organisations Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CPDR)- WB, anti-fascist citizen’s forums and student organisations have demanded his immediate release.

Rights groups alleged that the left activist was not produced in court within the mandatory 24 hours of his arrest and the police falsely showed his arrest on 13/10/2021.

“The manner of the arrest of Tipu and slapping of UAPA shows the Mamata Banerjee government is no different from BJP when it comes to dealing with political opponents and dissidents in her state,” read a solidarity statement.

Five year old case

In 2016, Belpahari police had arrested a youth named Jairam Murmu allegedly with a weapon and a poster bearing the Maoist party name. A case was filed against him under the draconian UAPA. However, there was no investigation into the incident from 2016 to 2021. Jairam was released within a year and now he is doing a job.

Tipu’s colleagues and family members allege that his name has been tagged into that “dormant case and he has been arrested now.”

“January 2016! We were college-going kids holding street corners. And weapons? The only weapons we had was our consciousness and the zeal to work for an egalitarian society. Needless to say, these are the weapons they fear the most. As for guns and bombs : none have been seized from him. After an illegal arrest they tagged him in a case that dates back 5 years! The ridiculousness of the charges is limitless,” one of Tipu’s friends said to the news website.

Second arrest

In November 2018, Tipu Sultan was arrested along with three other student leaders by the West Bengal police from Jangalmahal.

The police had claimed that Tipu and friends were “Maoist operatives” and the police recovered “Maoist leaflets” from their possession.

All four were charged under sections 149 (unlawful assembly), 120 (concealing design to commit offence), 121 (waging, or attempting to wage war), 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war), 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.

One year after the arrest, Tipu was released in 2019, as the police couldn’t produce even a chargesheet against him in court.