Like Mamata Banerjee,top cop too described cartoon row as ‘decomposed’ in report

When Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had termed the “defamatory” cartoon sent by Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra to his friends through e-mail as a “decomposed”,no one dared to oppose her even though everyone in her ministry and party knew quite well that the adjective used by her was neither proper nor in good taste.

Written by RAJIB CHATTERJEE | Kolkata | Published: September 5, 2012 3:50 am

When Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had termed the “defamatory” cartoon sent by Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra to his friends through e-mail as a “decomposed”,no one dared to oppose her even though everyone in her ministry and party knew quite well that the adjective used by her was neither proper nor in good taste.

But Kolkata Police Commissioner RK Pachnanda was not as fortunate as the Chief Minister. When asked by the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) to submit a report on controversial cartoon episode that had stirred a storm of controversy nationwide,Pachnanda used the same word — “decomposed” — to describe the cartoon in his forwarding report perhaps thinking that it would not be justified since it was used by none other than the Chief Minister. But he was wrong.

During his deposition before the rights panel on July 5,the chief of Kolkata Police was asked to explain what exactly did he want to “mean” by using the word “decomposed” for the cartoon. As expected,he had no explanation to offer.

The panel’s recommendation reads: “The report which was submitted to this Commission by the Commissioner of Police had a forwarding report by the Commissioner of Police himself. In the said forwarding report,the Commissioner has referred to expressions like “superimposed” “decomposed” and “criminal intent” with reference to the subject cartoon but in his deposition before the Commission he could not explain what it meant by “decomposed” cartoon or cartoon with “criminal intent”.

The WBHRC,which probed the controversial cartoon episode following allegations that the professor and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta were harassed by the police,had asked Pachnanda to submit a report on the arrests of the duo.

Pachnanda and other officers of Kolkata Police were also summoned by the panel. In its report,WBHRC stated Kolkata Police Commissioner “deposed that he saw the cartoon and according to him the cartoon showed the Chief Minister in a derogatory manner”. Pachnanda also told the panel that according to him the additional officer-in-charge of Purba Jadavpur police station Milan Kumar Das and his subordinate Sub-Inspector Sanjoy Biswas had “acted according to the law”.

Later,the WBHRC,recommended compensation of Rs 50,000 each for the professor and Sengupta and departmental action against the two officers — Milan Kumar Das and Sanjoy Biswas — for arresting the professor and his neighbour on April 12.

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