A First Year MTech student of Rajabazar Science College was in for a rude shock on Monday when she found a hoarding outside her house in Kolkata, displaying her Facebook profile page. The hoarding was accompanied with the message — ‘Shame on you’.
The reason: Rajashree Chattopadhyay, on October 14, had taken to Facebook to express her anger over Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to hold a Durga Puja immersion carnival last Wednesday and also her plan to make the pujas a 10-day affair next year. She had posted: “Bhashane Haribol! Mananiya apni chuloi jaan”.
When contacted, she said: “The government had spent crores on pujas by clubs that are owned by ministers. I found it a little strange that while state employees were not getting DA because of financial crunch, money was being wasted like this. Just like a normal tax payer, I raised a question which was followed by a friendly discussion with my friends. While a few supported, others did not agree to my point… but that was fine.”
On Sunday allegedly she received a call from her neighbour about the 5 feet-7-inch hoarding coming up near her house. The same day, a group of women reportedly assembled near her house and asked her to apologise in public. “These women, who are supporters of the ruling party in my locality, gathered near my house and repeatedly asked me to apologise for my post. I did not. My neighbours came to my rescue and they were forced to leave. I support SFI, may be that was why they couldn’t digest my post,” said Rajashree.
She added: “Did I do anything wrong? I initially didn’t believe this but when I received a picture of the hoarding on WhatsApp, I was shocked. It reminded me of 2012 incident where a Jadavpur University professor was arrested for circulating a cartoon of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”
“It’s our money. I am not against anything in particular but I have full rights to question people as a citizen of the state. I noticed that most clubs that were awarded and received money belonged to Trinamool Congress leaders. If they want to boost tourism, they must include pandals in Sundarbans and Cooch Behar,” said Rajashree.
She, however, has not lodged a complaint with the police, “It’s disheartening for a girl. I feel humiliated but would not like to go to police. It was tough for me to explain the matter to my parents. If I am threatened or put to such a thing again, maybe I will take stern action,” said Rajashree.
When contacted, local Trinamool Councillor of ward 8, Bapi Mitra, denied his party workers were involved in the matter. “No Trinamool worker was involved. I believe it was some kind of propaganda by others against our party. I have directed that the hoarding be taken down as early as possible,” he said.