Kolkata: It’s my way or the highway – it seems that the people of West Bengal under Trinamool Congress have to toe the party line. This was evident from the arrest of a Jadavpur University professor after he forwarded an e-mail containing TMC chief Mamata Bannerjee’s cartoons showing her in poor light. Bannerjee, on the other hand, blamed CPI-M for raising trivial issues to "malign" her.
With many sections of the society thinking that the professor was arrested over the cartoons, the real reasons behind the arrest appear to be totally different. A leading English daily on Saturday reported that Ambikesh Mahapatra, who was arrested along with his neighbour Subrata Sengupta, have been serving as assistant secretary and secretary of the New Garia Housing Cooperative Society, respectively.
The newspaper report suggests that local Trinamool leaders, who are in command of the ‘building material-supply syndicates’, were not happy with both Mahapatra and Sengupta. The duo had continuously denied the TMC-backed contractors contracts as there were reports of misappropriation of funds by their predecessors in the society.
It is also being said that Mahapatra had even barred some TMC leaders from entering into the society. It is being alleged that he was even threatened by TMC men to stay away from the housing society election, which is to be held on May 20.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mahapatra said: “Society election is due on May 20 and a notification has been issued in this regard. I do not know whether there is a conspiracy against me. But I had no ill intention in forwarding the e-mail. I received the email and forwarded it as an innocent joke. I sent an apology e-mail to all the members of the cooperative on April 6. However, yesterday, when I was being beaten up, I was repeatedly asked to write that I am resigning from the post of the assistant secretary of the housing society.”
Mahapatra alleged he was mercilessly beaten up by `Trinamool Congress` members and forced to give a signed statement Thursday night that he had posted the cartoon online "motivatedly" as he was "an active Communist Party of India-Marxist worker".
Subrata Sengupta was been arrested as the professor allegedly used the society`s registered email id to send the cartoon strips.
Mahapatra was booked under charges of outraging the modesty of a woman - punishable with one year imprisonment, defamation which carries a maximum term of two years and hacking, punishable with three years prison term and fine up to Rs.2 lakh.
Both Mahapatra and Sengupta were granted bail by the court of 2nd judicial magistrate (Alipore) Suparna Roy.
The collage of cartoons mailed by by Mahapatra allegedly includes the photographs of Banerjee and Railway Minister Mukul Roy and uses some dialogues of Satyajit Ray`s detective masterpiece "Sonar Kella", showing the duo discussing how to get rid of party leader Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced by the chief minister to give up the railways portfolio. `Mukul` is incidentally the name of the child protagonist in the movie.
The West Bengal Chief Minister had yesterday defended the arrest of the professor.
"They don`t do any work but think of ways to frame me," Bannerjee said targeting the CPI-M hours after the police action against 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.