Leader of anti-power grid movement in Bengal arrested from Odisha
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Leader of anti-power grid movement in Bengal arrested from Odisha

CPI (ML-Red Star) leader Alik Chakraborty was arrested from a hospital in Bhubaneswar, where he had gone for treatment for chronic liver disease.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2018 12:58 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Alik Chakraborty,anti-power grid,Bhangar
A group of activists take out a protest rally demanding withdrawal of UAPA Arms Act, release of four activists, and against alleged violence by ruling party Trinamool Congress on villagers of Anti-Power Grid movement of Bhangar at Esplanade in Kolkata. (HT FILE PHOTO)

CPI (ML-Red Star) leader Alik Chakraborty, who is leading an agitation against a proposed power grid in West Bengal’s Bhangar, was arrested from a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

West Bengal police tracked his phone calls and arrested him from the hospital, where he had gone for treatment for chronic liver disease.

Charged under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (UAPA) Act, Chakraborty was wanted since January 2017. Though he mostly stayed in the villages that formed the epicentre of the agitation and participated in public meetings, police did not arrest him then as he was shielded by villagers and to avoid violence.

Chakraborty will be produced before an Odisha court for transit remand on Friday and taken to Bengal, said Arijit Sinha, superintendent of police, Baruipur.

CPI(ML-Red Star)’s West Bengal secretary has demanded his immediate hospitalisation as “he has been suffering from choric liver ailments and requires regular treatment”.

Although West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has promoted the power grid project several times, work has been remained stalled since January last year as two persons were killed in firing by goons who allegedly had the ruling party’s backing.

Although Chakraborty’s arrest is expected to deal a blow to the movement, Mirza Hasan, spokesperson of Jami, Jibika, Poribesh O Bastutantra Raksha Committee, which is spearheading the agitation, said it “will not dampen our spirit”.

“It was proved beyond doubt during rural polls that people in these areas stand united and are ready to go to any extent to stall this project,” Hasan said.

In the recently held village panchayat polls, the group had won five of the eight contested.

Amidst the widespread violence during the polls which hindered opposition parties from filing nominations, in an unprecedented move, the state election commission accepted the group’s nominations filed through WhatsApp. The Calcutta high court heard their petition and allowed them the special privilege.

First Published: Jun 01, 2018 12:52 IST