Kolkata: To mark the Human Rights Day on Monday, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal announced the release of 51 lifers, including political prisoners, and decided not to oppose the bail of ailing CPI (Maoist) politburo member Sushil Roy following a mass petition. "Today's decision to free 51 prisoners was in addition to the release of 83 lifers already announced by the state government," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters.
These 51 prisoners had served jail sentence for a period between 15 to 25 years, she said. Stating that 55 political prisoners have so far been released by the Trinamool Congress government which came to power in May, 2011, the chief minister said "we kept our word as per our election pledge."
She said the government had taken a decision not to oppose the bail petition of ailing and aged Maoist leader Sushil Roy, facing chargesheets in four cases, following a mass petition by social activist Mahasweta Devi. "Considering his age, we wish he keeps well. Our government will not oppose his bail. It is up to the court to take the decision."
One of the prisoners announced to be freed by the state government was Utthan Kumar Pal, a SUCI activist, an electoral ally of TMC.