Fascism proving its meaning in Bengal: Mahasweta Devi

Kolkata: Months after terming the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee "fascist", Magsaysay awardee Mahasweta Devi Wednesday said the word is proving its meaning in the state.

"The word fascism is capable of proving its own meaning. The word is steadily proving itself in Bengal," said Mahasweta Devi on the sidelines of a programme here.

Her comments came in the backdrop of the order to state-owned and funded libraries to stock only eight specific vernacular newspapers for promoting "free thinking" among readers.

"No government can dictate which newspaper is to be read or not to be read. The order is not in the interest of the people. Many poor people depend on state-funded libraries for reading newspapers," she said.

"This order won`t serve any purpose because I personally believe that those who used to read a particular newspaper will continue reading it. Newspaper helps in spreading awareness and helps to grow a movement whether it is a students` or a mass movement," she said.

She also condemned police action on Nonadanga slum dwellers and appealed to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to arrange for rehabilitation of the evicted slum dwellers.

"I condemn this police action on slum dwellers, especially on women. I have heard that even pregnant women were not spared by male policemen. I criticise such inhuman activities."

Mahasweta, who had backed Banerjee against the erstwhile Left Front regime, had last year termed the West Bengal government "fascist", prompting the chief minister to say that the writer was "misinformed and misled."

Later, the Magsaysay Award winning writer-activist stated that her remark was not targeted at the chief minister.