Following a Kolkata High Court order allowing the status of political prisoners to People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) leader Chatradhar Mahato and six alleged Maoists booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Home Ministry had asked West Bengal government to amend the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992.
The Home Ministry told the state government to move the Supreme Court and amend the Act as the August 8 High Court order has "pan-India implications" and would provide grist to CPI(Maoist) propaganda machinery.
Following the footsteps of Mahato and V Venkateshwara Reddy, alias Telugu Dipak, who were granted the status of political prisoners, the 2007 American Center shootout mastermind Aftab Ansari, who is on death row at Kolkata's Alipore Central Jail, has also demanded political prisoner status for himself.
"It is a very worrying development. Despite asking West Bengal government more than a month ago, there is no action.
Since it is a state law, the central government cannot act or interfere. The state government has to act fast to amend the Act," a Home Ministry official said. (More)