87-year-old freedom fighter alleges police harassment

Last Updated: Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 13:37

Ahmedabad: A 87-year-old freedom fighter from Gujarat has approached the state authorities alleging harassment by police, who barged into his residence and began questioning after branding him as a "Bangladeshi" having "terror links".

Santoshkumar Surendranath Saha, who participated in the Quit India Movement, in a letter addressed to the State Chief Secretary, DGP and City Police Commissioner, said that police officials forcibly entered his home in Sabarmati area on Tuesday around 1930 hours and grilled him on the grounds that they had information about him being a Bangladeshi having links with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.
Saha, who was born in undivided Bengal, present-day Bangladesh, also said through his lawyer S H Iyer that he was asked to be present next day for further interrogation before the police inspector at Sabarmati police station.

When the veteran freedom fighter reached the police station, he was question by one cop named Jani who wanted to know-- Who he was? Since how long has be been in Ahmedabad?

What was his real name? Was he a Muslim?, the letter said.

"We have received information that you (Saha) are a Bangladeshi Muslim, living in Ahmedabad with a fictitious Hindu name and have links with terrorist outfits..You are an ISI agent," the policeman told Saha, it said.
Saha`s statement was recorded and he was told he would be called again, he alleged in the letter.

Fearing further harassment by local police, Iyer said that his client was under tremendous fear and trauma.

He requested the government officials to look into the matter and direct the local police to stop questioning his identity.

Documents providing identity proof of Saha which include a letter from the Central government stating that Saha was a beneficiary under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 have also been annexed with the complaint letter, Iyer added.

The octogernarian was born in a small town of Bagura in erstwhile province of undivided Bengal (earlier East Pakistan and now Bangladesh) and moved to Ahmedabad after India gained independence in 1947. Later, he got himself a job in Bharat Suryoday Textile Mill here and settled down.

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First Published: Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 13:37

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