Cartoon row: Bengal rights panel summons Kolkata police chief

June 19th, 2012 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, June 19 (IANS) In a fresh twist to the two-month-old cartoon controversy, the West Bengal Human Rights Commission has summoned the city police commissioner in connection with the arrest of a Jadavpur University professor for online circulation of graphics of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Police Commissioner Ranjit Kumar Pachnanda has been asked to appear before the panel in person July 5, according to a commission official.

The commission’s latest directive is a follow-up of its earlier communication seeking a report from Pachnanda on the arrest of professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour and retired engineer Subrata Sengupta April 12 for the circulation of the cartoons.

“The commission wants to make certain queries into the report submitted by police,” the official said.

Mahapatra, along with the secretary of his housing society Sengupta, had to spend a night in the police station before they were granted bail by a court the next day.

The duo had been booked for bailable offences - defamation, cyber crime and outraging modesty of a woman.

Mahapatra, who had allegedly used the official e-mail id of the housing society to send the mails, was also beaten up by contractors owing allegiance to Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

The collage of cartoons by Mahapatra allegedly included the photographs of Banerjee and Railway Minister Mukul Roy and used some dialogues of Satyajit Ray’s detective masterpiece “Sonar Kella”, showing the duo discussing how to get rid of party leader Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced by the chief minister to give up the railways portfolio.

After the arrest evoked widespread condemnation from political parties, eminent personalities and the common people, four of those who beat up Mahapatra were arrested but bailed out immediately.

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