New Delhi: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Nilotpal Basu on Sunday took potshots at the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal over a farmer`s arrest, describing the step as completely unacceptable and reflective of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s dictatorial attitude.
"There is very little difference today between intolerance and authoritarianism. The farmer, who raised this question in course of the public meeting in Belpahari, he was raising the question about the pathetic state of affairs so far, as the marginal farmers are concerned because input costs have gone up for agricultural production. And, they are also not getting the price of the agricultural products, which they produce. So, he was only trying to draw the attention of the chief minister," said Basu.
"But immediately he was taken away by the police, and he was charged for being a Maoist. This has also become a familiar pattern, whosoever is not in agreement with the government, or whosoever tries to raise their question," he added.
Basu further demanded that the farmer should be immediately released and all cases registered against him dropped.
"Our demand is that immediately this man should be released and all cases should be withdrawn. And there should not be any attack on the democratic rights of the people. Nobody is saying that you have to accept everything what people say, but people do have every right to raise questions on the basis of their own experience and that is the essence of democracy in this country," Basu said.
"It is now the West Bengal Government`s claim that everything is fine and any question, any doubt expressed, it is fake, it is stage-managed by the opposition and they say that its is the conspiracy of the CPI (M) and so on," he added.
West Bengal Police arrested Siladitya Chowdhury, who was dubbed as Maoist by Banerjee, at a public meeting when he asked her what steps she was taking to help farmers.
Chowdhury had told the chief minister at a public meeting at the former Maoist stronghold of Belpahari on August 8 that farmers were dying and asked her what steps her government was taking, as ``empty promises were not enough``.
An irked Mamata was taken by surprise and promptly dubbed Chowdhury a Maoist, and asked police to arrest him. Chowdhury, a resident of Noawa village under Binpur police station, was charged under Sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant in discharge of duty), 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant in discharging public duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 447 (criminal trespass) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
According to reports, Chowdhury, who was arrested last night from his home was produced before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Priyajit Chatterjee`s court today and remanded to 14 days judicial custody.