Tuesday, May 22, 2007

100 days of 'torture' for innocent poet by Maharashtra Terror Police

100 days of 'torture' for innocent poet by Maharashtra Terror Police

Shantanu Kamble proved he did not have links with Naxalities

Arrested as an alleged Naxalite, Arun Ferriera is still in police custody, though his friends claim he is innocent. Sunday MiD DAY talks to Shantanu Kamble, who was arrested by the Nagpur police in 2005 on similar grounds of suspicious Naxalite links, but later cleared by the court.

Kamble’s story

Twentynine-year-old Wadala resident Kamble was arrested by the Nagpur police who claimed he was a hardcore Naxal activist.

However, the court later acquitted Kamble and admitted that he is a poet, not a Naxal.

He was arrested in two murder cases of a sub-inspector and state minister. The police also charged him with involvement in other Naxalite activities in Chandrapur.

Recalling those 100 ‘horrible’ days of police custody, Kamble says, “During the interrogation, the police would tightly tie my hands in opposite directions, they would force my legs apart and two policemen would stand on my feet.

Almost everyday, they used these methods to torture me.” He goes on to add, “I was under tremendous psychological and physical pressure but during the medical check-up, the doctors declared us as fit without even bothering to ask us about our pains.”

Kamble claims that he is a poet (Shahir) and would attend cultural programmes whenever invited. “I always go with the person who contacts me.

In September 2005, I was supposed to go to Raipur for a programme arranged by the Adivasi movement. I left Mumbai for Raipur via Nagpur with V Shankar who, I later discovered, was a hard-core Naxalite.”

That night, the police took Kamble and Shankar for routine enquiry to the police station. “But even after couple of days there were no sign of release.

The police produced us in court surrounded by commandos. I was shocked at the treatment meted out to me, as I had nothing to do with any undemocratic activity,” says Kamble.

Mid Day

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