Kolkata: Noted writer and human rights activist Mahasweta Devi’s ‘fascist’ remarks against the West Bengal government have evoked sharp reactions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Reports, Tuesday, claimed that the fire-brand Trinamool leader is upset with her mentor for calling her government `fascist` for taking a tough stand against the Maoists.
Terming her mentor’s comment as ‘drama’, Mamata said she did not know why such a big fuss is being made out of the entire issue. The Chief Minister clarified that she was not trying to throttle the people`s voices and her government was doing what is in the best interest of the state.
“They support all the radical leftists and provide them shelters. I have not said anything in the past six months, but there has to be a limit," she was quoted as saying.
Reaction from the TMC leader came a day after Devi alleged that the people in West Bengal are being denied their legitimate right to protest and this is nothing but a fascist attitude. “The government will have to withdraw the undemocratic diktat," the noted playwright said while addressing a press conference.
Devi was referring to the denial of permission by the West Bengal government to hold a hunger strike and sit-in demonstration on November 23 and 24 in Kolkata. The press conference was organised by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) and 21 other human rights organizations.
"What has not happened in the last 64 years in West Bengal happened today. The people were robbed of their natural right to protest," the Magsaysay award winner said.
The hunger strike and sit-in were planned to demand withdrawal of Joint Forces from Maoist-hit Jangalmahal, of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and release of political prisoners as promised by Trinamool Congress before coming to power. Permission was initially given by Kolkata police but was withdrawn later citing "administrative" reason.
Asked if her hopes of good governance were dashed, Devi said "I have protested against injustice of the Left regime and the entire country knows me as a rebel writer and for that I have received Padma Bibhusan and Magsaysay award."
Asked if she has any sympathy for Maoists, she said, "I don`t believe in the politics of violence and killing of people but what Joint Forces are doing is also not justifiable democratically."
She demanded the Joint Forces be withdrawn first and the government take the initiative for peace talks. Reacting to it, Mamata said the APDR was an over-ground organisation of the Maoists, without making a direct reference to her mentor.
Some other intellectuals, who had stood solidly behind Mamata Banerjee in her bid to come to power in the state, have also voiced their protest in a letter written to APDR.
They include singer and Trinamool MP Kabir Suman, film-maker Aparna sen, theatre personality Koushik Sen, writer Suchitra Bhattacharya and poet Sankha Ghosh.
With PTI Input