Man arrested for questioning Mamata, activists condemn incident (Lead)August 11th, 2012 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Aug 11 (IANS) A man, who had publicly questioned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about her government policies towards farmers, was Saturday arrested from West Midnapore district for “disrupting a public rally and assaulting police officers”, police said.
The step has come in for criticism from civil society who slammed Banerjee for her “growing intolerance”.
“Shiladitya Chowdhury was arrested Saturday morning and booked for disrupting a public rally, entering into a high security zone and assaulting police personnel,” Superintendent of Police, Jhargram, Bharati Ghosh told IANS.
He was later remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody by a court.
Banerjee, on a visit to the Maoist-affected Belpahari area in the district Wednesday, was addressing a public rally when Chowdhury stood up and asked her: “Farmers are dying because they have no money. Empty promises are not enough. What are you doing for farmers?”
Stunned by the question, an angry Banerjee immediately branded him a “Maoist” following which Chowdhury was detained and taken for interrogation by the police.
He was, however, allowed to go that day but was arrested Saturday morning.
The arrest has drawn condemnation from the civil society and yet again brought to the fore the temperamental nature of Banerjee, who is known for losing her cool over the slightest of uncomfortable questions.
“What can I say? The arrest is highly unwarranted and highlights not only Banerjee’s growing intolerance, but also her dictatorial attitude. I don’t know what has happened to her,” social activist and writer Mahasweta Devi told IANS.
Earlier Banerjee had stormed out of an interactive programme on a TV channel following a barrage of questions by students, over the arrest of a professor for forwarding a cartoon depicting her.
Branding them as “Maoists”, Banerjee had even instructed police to take photographs of those in the audience who had asked the questions.
“I can only say that whatever has happened is highly deplorable. Being a people’s representative, Banerjee should have answered his questions and not had him arrested,” noted poet and novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay said.
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Tags: barrage, chief minister, condemnation, dictatorial attitude, empty promises, ghosh, government policies, high security, interrogation, judicial custody, mamata banerjee, maoist, maoists, midnapore district, public rally, saturday morning, security zone, social activist, uncomfortable questions, west bengal