Activists protest against detention of tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato

      Hundreds of activists of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) took out a rally here on Thursday protesting against the detention of tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato. The activists, who were supported by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), demanded that the government should open talks with the banned organisations. "We demand the unconditional release of Chhatradhar Mahato and others who are booked under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and falsely implicated in criminal cases under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. We demand that joint forces must be withdrawn, UAPA must be repealed and dialogue must be opened with Janashadharan committee, which was inconclusive and if required government should open dialogue with now banned organisation," said Sujato Bhadra, APDR secretary. Mahato, the leader of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), which has been spearheading the agitation against alleged police atrocities, was nabbed from the Pirka region, near Lalgarh village. Police nabbed Mahato when he was about to give an interview to a journalist who was being followed. Mahato had been giving regular interviews when the paramilitary forces and the state police had launched the anti-Maoist operations in Lalgarh, a place declared as a liberated zone by the Maoists, on June 19 forcing him to go underground for some time. The tribals under Mahato had a free run for nine months with the police withdrawing from the camps, before the paramilitary troops captured Lalgarh from the Maoists who were fuelling the tribal agitations.

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