Cartoon row: Prof fears for his life; 4 arrested
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Last Updated: Sunday, April 15, 2012, 00:08
Kolkata: University professor Ambikesh Mohapatra, who is out on bail after being arrested for posting a cartoon on the internet showing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in poor light, today said he feared for his life.

"I am not free of insecurity," the Jadavpur university chemistry professor said alleging that on Thursday night a group of 15 Trinamool Congress supporters assaulted him for posting the cartoon.

"I was coming from the university when about 15 outsiders followed me asking why I had sent the messages. They dragged me and pushed me to the office," he said.

Mohapatra said a Trinamool Congress leader then showed him the cartoon and accused him of showing disrespect to their leader (Banerjee).

"They said I am a CPI-M activist. They beat me up. I was very afraid. I cried...I told them that I have already apologised for mailing the pictures. It is a cartoon. It is a joke and should be taken as a joke," he said.

Following his complaint, four persons were arrested today. They were identified as Amit Sardar, Arup Mukherjee, Sk Mustafa and Nishikanta Ghorai, two of whom were suspected to be Trinamool Congress workers.

All the four, however, were given bail on personal security bonds of Rs 500 each by the Alipore court where they were produced.

"Please provide me security," Mohapatra wrote in his police complaint.

Mohapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta were arrested yesterday for posting a cartoon on a social network site featuring Banerjee with Railway Minister Mukul Roy and his predecessor Dinesh Trivedi.

The cartoon showed the chief minister and the railway minister exchanging dialogues from popular Bengali film 'Sonar Kella', a detective thriller by Satyajit Ray, which alluded to the replacement of Trivedi by Roy as Railway Minister.

Mohapatra and his neighbour were charged with defamation, insulting the modesty of a woman and cyber offences.

They were produced in Alipore court and released on personal bonds.

The arrests triggered angry reaction from opposition CPI-M which dubbed the police action as "atrocious" and an assault on the fundamental right of freedom of expression and a grim reminder of oppression during Emergency.

"The police action is completely against freedom of expression. No law has been violated.There is nothing which is demeaning in this cartoon. It shows the level of intolerance" under the new regime," CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said.

Labour minister Purnendu Bose justified the police action on the ground that it was not a cartoon, but real pictures, which were insulting.


First Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 21:38

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