Kolkata: West Bengal government on Tuesday said
there was no evidence of Maoist link against writer Mahasweta
Devi or film-maker Aparna Sen, but Trinamool Congress chief
Mamata Banerjee pointed out that intellectuals were being
targeted by the state and dared it to arrest her.
"There is obviously no evidence of their links with
Maoists. Otherwise, they would have been arrested," Home
Secretary Ardhendu Sen told newsmen when asked whether there
was any proof of Maoist links against the two intellectuals.
There was also no evidence yet that PCPA leader
Chattradhar Mahato, who was being prosecuted under the
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was a Maoist, he said.
Mahato also had no connection with the killing of 70
persons in Lalgarh during the Maoist violence there, he said.
Sen said that Maoist leader Kishenji alias Koteswar Rao
would also be arrested though it would be a more difficult
Railway Minister Banerjee, on the other hand, asked "why
is (theatre personality) Saonli Mitra and other intellectuals
being targeted for supporting the tribal cause? Let the
government arrest me too since I support the tribal movement."
"Support to the tribal cause does not mean supporting
Maoists," the TC chief told a local TV channel, renewing her
warning that there would be trouble if the government dared
Banerjee demanded that the state Home Secretary and the
DGP apologise for dishonouring intellectuals including
Mahasweta Devi who had supported the Lalgaarh tribal movement.
To a question, she reiterated that she had no knowledge
if Chhatradhar Mahato had Maoist links.
"I have no knowledge if Chhatradhar has Maoist links or
not. The government should investigate it ... We supported the
tribal movement at Lalgarh, but that does not mean we support
Mahasweta Devi also denied links with Maoists.
"I am unaware whether Chhatradhar is a Maoist. Once, he
came to my house with a group of women and a TV channel crew.
When I was told that the women were Maoists, I drove away all
of them, including Chhatradhar," she told agency.
Stating that she had, however, met Mahato several times,
she said, "in all the meetings, I asked him to campaign
against SEZs, or to demand ration cards for the poor."
The home secretary, meanwhile, said there was `enough
evidence` to proceed against Raja Sarkhel and Prasun
Chatterjee, the human rights activists who were arrested last
night from Jadavpur area here on charges of having links with
Maoists and the PCPA.