April 18, 2012

Mamta's Ever-Growing Paranoia


She won a tsunami of a mandate in the last Assembly elections, winning 225 out of 294 seats and made history by breaking the Left fortress that ruled West Bengal for over three decades. However, Mamata Banerjee’s style of running a government has been in news for all the wrong reasons of late. Controversies followed her like her shadow and her government always had something to offer for her opponents to throw stones at her.



Now, nearing a year in office, Mamta seems to be lost and confused, sans her natural modesty and political intelligence. She seems to be smelling conspiracies everywhere and appears to be furious and bitter. She sees political campaigns behind each controversy in West Bengal, even at the half a dozen back-to-back rapes in the state. Here is a look at some of her or her party’s actions with which she earned the dubious title of - head of a “fascist” government.




Asks Facebook to Delete Anti-Mamata Pics



Days after a cartoon of Mamata Banerjee did the rounds, Trinamool Congress supremo now seems to have taken offence to some of her pictures posted on the social networking site Facebook.According to reports, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal has written to Facebook authorities in the U.S. requesting them to remove “malicious web contents” against Mamata Banerjee and Union Railway Minister Mukul Roy.

The CID said they would also try to locate the IP address from where the actual pictures were posted against Banerjee and Roy.




Professor Arrested Over Anti-Mamata Cartoon‎

A Jadavpur University professor was arrested for allegedly posting a cartoon on the internet showing 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. 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.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 had fallen foul of party supremo Mamata for his controversial statements, slammed the police for making the arrests.




Don't Mix Socially with CPM

In another bizarre episode, the Trinamool leader and state minister Jyotipriya Mallick asked his party cadre not to marry any CPI-M worker and avoid even small talk with members of the Left party. Mallick, the food and supplies minister, came out with this plea as a way out for Trinamool Congress workers to keep distance from cadres of the ruling party’s arch rival CPI-M to put up an all out fight against the Marxists.“Don’t mingle with CPI-M workers. Don’t talk to them. Don’t establish any marriage relation with CPI-M cadre,” he told a party meeting at Habra in North 24-Parganas in comments that could fuel a controversy and also reflecting Trinamool’s bitter rivalry with CPI-M. Mallick asked the partymen not to have any truck with the CPI-M and said, “We cannot fight the CPI-M all out if we keep any relation with them.” Urging the party workers to maintain distance from the CPI-M cadre and local leaders, he said, “Don’t gossip with them even at tea stalls.” Trinamool Congress workers should continue to do so till Panchayat polls and beyond, he said. The panchayat elections are due next year.

The CPI-M dismissed Mallick’s appeal to the Trinamool workers as “unfortunate, atrocious and ridiculous.” “Democratic values are at stake because intolerance is being promoted by the highest authorities,” CPI-M leader Md Salim said.Salim added that Trinamool is trying to destroy the social fabric in a state known for its village culture and ties between people irrespective of caste, creed and religion. He said it is regrettable that the ruling party is developing and promoting enmity between people.




Bans English Dailies from Bengal Libraries

Mamata Banerjee government banned English and mass-circulation Bengali dailies at state-sponsored and aided libraries. The order by the state government evoked criticism from Trinamool ally Congress, Left parties and the intelligentsia which said the decision was "undemocratic, undesirable and worse than censorship." A demand for withdrawal of the circualar was also made.A top government source said that the order by the Department of Mass Education Extension and Library Services was being amended incorporating an English daily, beside an Olchiki, Nepali and a Bengali daily to the original list of eight newspapers."Among the newspapers being added are leading English daily Times of India, Bengali daily 'Aajkal' besides an Olchiki and a Nepali newspaper," the source told PTI. "A concerted move is on to tarnish the image of the state government by levelling the charge that the freedom of the press is being gagged. This is a lie," the source said. "The library department is a small department, it has little funds and cannot keep so many newspapers," the source added. The state government earlier defended its decision saying it had been issued in accordance with its policy and ruled out withdrawing the circular. According to the earlier order, purchase of newspapers/dailies by public libraries shall be restricted to Sangbad Pratidin, Sakalbela, Khabar 365 din, Ekdin, Dainik Statesman (all Bengali), Sanmarg (Hindi) and Akhbar-E-Mashriq and Azad Hind (both Urdu dailies).The circular also said no government fund will be spent for purchase of any newspaper or daily published or purported to be published by any political party in any public library in the state. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said the order is "worse than censorship" and has shades of "fascism".

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