Mamata Banerjee draws flak for arresting a farmer who questioned her
New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee faced severe criticism from different quarters for arresting a farmer who questioned her publicly. Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju and the BJP have slammed her for her action.
The man was arrested for allegedly trying to disrupt Ms Banerjee's meeting at Belpahari in the once Maoist-dominated district of West Midnapore. Shiladitya Chowdhury, a farmer in his 40s, asked her, "What are you doing for farmers? Farmers are dying because they have no money. Empty promises are not enough." Surprised by the farmer's question, Ms Banerjee reacted angrily and said the man must be a Maoist. The police immediately nabbed him.
In a press release, Justice Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, said, "In my opinion this amounts to blatant misuse of State machinery and flagrant violation of Constitutional and Human Rights. Her action is most undemocratic to say the least." He said such actions by the West Bengal Chief Minister have changed his opinion about her. He said, "I believe that she is totally undeserving to be a political leader in a democratic country like India since she has no respect for Constitutional and Civil Rights of citizens and is totally dictatorial, intolerant, and whimsical in her behaviour."
The BJP also slammed Ms Banerjee for her action. The party said politicians should learn to answer such questions at public meetings.
The farmer, Mr Chowdhury, was let off after initial questioning on Wednesday. But he was again arrested from his home on Friday night for allegedly trying to disrupt the Chief Minister's meeting.