The Chief Minister
CHHATRADHAR MAHATO, spokesperson of the PULISHI SANTRAS BIRODHI JANASADHARANER COMMITTEE, has been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. This is in direct contravention of the previous stand of the West Bengal state government that the Act will apply only to members of the CPI(Maoist). While even this is a debatable policy, Chhatradhar Mahato can in no way fall within its ambit. Moreover, the modus operandi of his arrest was in complete disregard of law and proper procedure. There is no doubt that Chhatradhar Mahato should be released immediately.
In any case, he is the spokesperson of an organization with which the state government was in active dialogue before the government withdrew unilaterally and the joint armed forces were sent in. In this petition we urge you and your government to withdraw the joint armed forces, help create a climate conducive to dialogue, resume talks and sit across the table with Chhatradhar Mahato as a free man.
Mahasweta Devi, the petition sponsor, is a writer, activist and social critic. In this effort aimed at social and political justice for the struggling adivasi people of Lalgarh and adjoining areas in Pashchim Medinipur, West Bengal, she is joined by a large number of citizens deeply worried over the tragic events unfolding in the region.