Mamata stifling voice of protests: Rights activists

November 16th, 2011 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Nov 16 (IANS) Human rights activists Wednesday protested West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s threat of police action against “people who support and glorify Maoists” and accused her of stifling voices against her “undemocratic ways”.

“In the name of tackling Maoists, the government has resorted to a witch hunt. Whoever tries to raise voice against her undemocratic ways is branded as a Maoist and subjected to administrative action,” said right activist Amit Bhattacharya, a Jadavpore University professor.

He described Banerjee’s threat to Maoist sympathisers as “demeaning” and “unbecoming” of a chief minister.

Following the killing of two Trinamool Congress local leaders by Maoists after they called off the mutual ceasefire on Monday, the chief minister had accused some people in the city of supporting the rebels and threatened action against them.

“There are two professors of Jadavpore University who are supporting them along with few other people. They are doing all the conspiracy from Kolkata. Now I have to take a decision that police will take action against those who will try to glorify and help the Maoists. Law will take its own course,” Banerjee had said.

Bhattacharya, who is doing a University Grants Commission (UGC) project on ‘Maoist movement in India’, said the security forces were brutally killing the rebels often in staged shootouts.

“Banerjee says for her, every death is painful. But I ask why she never condemns when the rebels are brutally killed by the forces in fake encounters. Why doesn’t she announce compensation to the families of the dead rebels?”

Deblina Chakrabarty of Matangini Mahila Samity, another rights organisation, said the new government was carrying on the same atrocities which the erstwhile Left Front government had.

“Nothing has changed except for the political colour. The new government in the name of industrialisation is indulging is land brokering for profits. We are now being threatened by Banerjee because we do not support her undemocratic moves,” said Chakrabarty.

The activists who supported in her crusade against the Left Front government in hope for a change said the new regime had failed to fulfil their expectations.

“We supported her with a hope of change. We had expected she will not indulge in the misadventures which the former government did. But now we have realised that nothing will change,” said Bhattacharya, whose views were echoed by Prashant Haldar of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), a human rights organisation.

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