A Jadavpur University professor was arrested today for allegedly posting a cartoon on the internet showing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in poor light after she forced out Dinesh Trivedi and put Mukul Roy in his place as Railway minister.
The arrest of Ambikesh Mohapatra,a Chemistry professor,sparked an outrage with opposition CPI-M and the academic community saying the police action is “highly atrocious” and a “clear assault” on the minimum democratic right of freedom of expression. The professor was later granted bail by an Alipore court.
Protests were also held by students and the professor’s colleagues at the Jadavpur university campus here.
DCP (south suburban division) Sujay Chanda said the professor was arrested along with a neighbour residing in east Jadavpur for spreading derogatory messages against “respectable persons” on a popular social networking site.
Mohapatra was charged with IPC offences relating to defamation and insulting the modesty of women as well as cyber crime offences,Police said.
Labour minister Purnendu Bose justified the arrest. He argued that the objectionable content was not a cartoon,but real pictures,which were nothing but an insult.
“Law will take its own course,” he said. The cartoon in question,which was also sent by e-mail,showed chief minister and the railway minister apparently exchanging dialogues from a popular Bengali film Sonar Kella,a detective masterpiece by Satyajit Ray,which alluded to the replacement of Trivedi by Roy as Railway minister.
“The arrest is a clear assault on the democratic right of freedom of expression. It is like very much what happened during Emergency,” CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said.
Karat’s party colleague Md Salim said the police action is highly ridiculous and highly atrocious.
Rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman,who has fallen foul of party supremo Mamata Banerjee for his controversial statements,slammed the police for making the arrests.
“What has been forwarded in the website is an innocent expression and it is difficult to accept that a person can be arrested on the basis of this,” he said.
Educationist Sunanda Sanyal,who has parted ways with Banerjee in recent time,condemned the arrest and said it was made “on a flimsy ground”.
Noted writer Sunil Gangopadhyay said the arrests were a pointer to the dictatorial attitude of the ruling party “which is ominous”.
“I fail to understand how arrests can be made over cartoons which are natural expressions in a democracy and want to know when politicians will learn to ignore cartoons.”
The writer demanded immediate release of the professor.
Cong disapproves of Professor’s arrest
Congress today sought to disapprove of the arrest of a Professor by West Bengal Police for allegedly posting a cartoon showing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in poor light on a popular social networking site.
Party spokesman Manish Tewari said the Congress always believed in the freedom of right of expression granted by the Constitution which was intrinsic to the democratic ethos of the country.
He,however,added that he had no first hand knowledge of the incident and therefore it was inappropriate for making any sweeping judgement without understanding facts from the West Bengal unit of the party.
Congress is a junior partner in the West Bengal government headed by the Trinamool Congress supremo while Banerjee’s party is the second largest constituent of the UPA at the Centre after Congress. In recent times,Trinamool has emerged as the most troublesome ally for the Congress at the Centre.
The cartoon by the Professor of Chemistry of Jadavpur University also involved Railway Minister Mukul Roy and former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi.
Police have said that Professor Ambikesh Mohapatra was arrested along with a neighbour residing in east Jadavpur for spreading derogatory messages against “respectable persons”.
The cartoon showed the chief minister and the railway minister exchanging dialogues from a popular Bengali film by Satyajit Ray which alluded to the replacement of Dinesh Trivedi by Mukul Roy as Railway minister.
Mamata defends arrest of professor over cartoons
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today defended the arrest of a Jadavpur University professor over his cartoons on the internet putting her in poor light and she blamed CPI-M for raising trivial issues to “malign” her.
“They don’t do any work but think of ways to frame me,” Banerjee said targeting the CPI-M hours after the police action against Ambikesh Mohapatra that led to a strong condemnation from the academic community and the Left.
“…They commit crimes and once people are arrested they run it on their channels for the whole day,” she said at a public event. The Trinamool Congress supremo warned this will not be allowed to go on.
Labour minister Purnendu Bose also justified the arrest,arguing the contents circulated by the professor were not a cartoon,but real pictures,which were nothing but an insult.
“Law will take its own course,” he said. Mohapatra meanwhile claimed some people suspected to be belonging to ruling Trinamool Congress yesterday forced him to sign a letter to say he is a member of CPI-M and that he had intentionally sent the e-mails circulating the cartoons.