Four people were arrested Saturday for assaulting Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who allegedly circulated “defamatory” cartoons of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress colleagues. A court granted them bail after a few hours.
“The accused, who were produced before a court, have been granted bail as the offences they were charged with are all bailable offences,” said counsel for accused Baishanor Chattopadhyay.
The accused, suspected to be Trinamool Congress workers, were arrested Saturday following a complaint by Mahapatra.
The professor told police that he was assaulted by a group of people and was forced to give a written undertaking that he was a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) worker and circulated the cartoons at the behest of the party.
Congress leader O.P. Mishra criticised the quick grant of bail. “This is a travesty of justice. The one who was assaulted had to spend almost a night in jail while the assaulters walked away free within hours of getting arrested. They should have been booked under stringent laws.”
Mahapatra, along with the secretary of his housing society, Subrata Sengupta, was arrested early Friday and granted bail by a court later in the day.
The collage of cartoons 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 arrest evoked widespread condemnation from political parties, eminent personalities and the common people in West Bengal.