A group of actors and activists wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday to draw her attention towards two recent incidents of violence in the state. The letter, written on behalf of Citizen Speak India, was also signed by filmmaker Aparna Sen, who was among the 49 celebrities who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on rising mob lynching cases in the country.
The letter mentions the police lathicharge against a group of teachers protesting in Kalyani on August 17. The teachers were demanding a salary hike and upgradation of their status as permanent teachers.
“Instead of trying to resolve the peaceful democratic protests of teachers of this state through sane dialogue and debate, the administration has been resorting to undemocratic means of quashing these protests by the use of police brutality,” the letter said.
“On 19th August, today, the hunger strike platform being organised at Subodh Mallick Square by part-time teachers of colleges and universities, was forcibly stopped by the police and some of the participants were picked up,” it added.
The letter also talks about an alleged attack on a theatre activist who was beaten up by unidentified men at Dumdum on August 15. “On 15th August 2019, at the Academy of Fine Arts complex, three small street plays were enacted at the initiative of ‘Actors United’ in front of a gathering united against communalism and fundamentalism,” the letter said.
“Shubhankar Das Sharma, a member of Actors United, was attacked and beaten up by unknown assailants at Dumdum while returning home at the end of the performance,” it added.
The letter called out both the incidents as an attack on all artistes propagating free thought and added that such incidents should be condemned with the same severity as any case of lynching.
Other signatories in the group included actors Koushik Sen, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Riddhi Sen, and activists Bolan Gangopadhyay Rupsha Dasgupta.