Bengal recommends release of 52 political prisoners

July 20th, 2011 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, July 20 (IANS) The West Bengal government Wednesday decided to release 52 political prisoners, including one Maoist and several activists of organisations involved in movement for separate states.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the list at the state secretariat here following a recommendation made by a panel - Bandi Mukti Committee - set up by her government for release of political prisoners after a case-by-case review.

The committee, led by retired justice Malay Sengupta, had recommended release of 78 political prisoners.

“However, after considering all aspects at the administrative and government level, we are recommending release of 52 prisoners,” the chief minister said.

Banerjee said the list included several leaders of the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and some associated with the Greater Cooch Behar movement.

“It will be a continuous process. Their cases are in lower courts, high court or the Supreme Court. Detailed investigations have to be done to see the status of the pending cases. Once the process is complete, they will walk free. Then we will review more cases,” she added.

The Maoist leader set to be released is Chandi Sarkar.

The KLO has been demanding creation of Kamtapur state, comprising six districts in northern West Bengal and nine others in Assam.

The Greater Cooch Behar agitation is based on a demand for a separate state comprising the territory of the erstwhile Cooch Behar princely state.

Hours after being sworn in May 20, Banerjee announced that cases of all political prisoners will be reviewed by an expert committee comprising former judges, jurists, human right activists and members of the civil society, and those found innocent will be freed.

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