Mamata finds fault with state rights chief’s Pakistan trip

Mamata finds fault with state rights chief’s Pakistan trip

A new chapter has been added to the tension between Mamata Banerjee and Justice Ganguly.

A new chapter has been added to the tension between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly,the chairman of the state human rights commission,who has passed several orders against the government over the past one year.

The state home secretary has written to Ganguly asking several questions about a visit the former Supreme Court judge made to Pakistan on June 4. Among the things Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee wanted to know were who paid for the trip,and with whose permission Ganguly had gone.

Ganguly,who had gone to Karachi to attend a seminar,received the letter after he returned to Kolkata on June 7. He sent a reply,but the government,which seems to believe Ganguly broke foreign exchange laws,has decided to take this up with the union finance ministry.

“The response is not adequate and it seems that he has transgressed his limits. It happens even to people who are knowledgable in this field. We are going to investigate further,” a state government official told The Indian Express.


The official clarified that the state government did not intend to seek Ganguly’s removal,but “given the kind of trouble he has been”,would like to “keep him on a leash”.

Since Ganguly took charge on April 3,2012,the commision has issued 32 orders containing 75 recommendations to the state government,more than it had issued over any previous 13-month period.

“Never has the commission issued so many orders in such a short time,” confirmed the commission secretary,Sujoy Kumar Halder.

He said that out of the 32 orders,the government had so far refused to accept three,including one in which the commission ordered it to pay Rs 50,000 to Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra who was arrested last year for allegedly forwarding a cartoon that the chief minister found offensive.

On July 13,the commission asked the government to pay Rs 2 lakh to Shiladitya Choudhury,a farmer whom the chief minister called a “Maoist” when he tried to draw her attention to the price of fertilisers at a political meeting in Belpahari some months ago.

The government has not yet got back on the order,Halder said.

The commission is currently seized of the case in which a college student was raped and killed in Kamduni near Barasat in North 24-Parganas district in June. “The commission has heard the witnesses and is now looking at the evidence. A decision will be taken soon,” Halder said.

Banerjee’s irritation with Ganguly and the commission spilled over in the assembly last August,when she chose to launch an attack on both the rights body and its chief,and on the judiciary as a whole.

And on July 27,ministers Firhad Hakim and Madan Mitra hit back at Ganguly for criticising the state government for the violence during the panchayat elections.

“Where was he when bloodshed was witnessed in places like Nandigram,Netai and Singur (under the previous Left government)?” Hakim said.

Mitra said,“I don’t know what role he plays in a democracy.”


Ganguly said he had broken no laws. “As far as my Pakistan trip is concerned,and also in all other matters,everything has been done in accordance with law and established rules. I don’t know why they are saying so… Anyway,I will see,” Ganguly told The Indian Express.