Kolkata, April 16 (IANS) Kolkata Monday continued to be rocked by protests over the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra for allegedly circulating ‘defamatory’ cartoons targeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Intellectuals and commoners continued to pour their anguish over the issue which they see as a blatant attack on democracy and freedom of speech and expression.
Painter Wasim Kapoor and noted academician Pabitra Sarkar were among a host of intellectuals who gathered to protest and voice their concern over the latest instance of crackdown on activists and ordinary citizens.
Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) – a civil rights organisation also came out in support of Mahapatra.
“The arrest of Mahapatra was a direct attack on the freedom of speech and expression. The culprits who assaulted him and made a malicious complaint leading to his arrest were let off easily. People should and must come out in protests against this,” APDR’s Sujato Bhadra said.
Hundreds of residents of the New Garia cooperative housing society – where Mahapatra lives – had also taken out a silent protest rally on Sunday.
Condemning the arrest of Mahapatra and Partho Sarathi Ray, a molecular biologist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), leading scientists and intellectuals from India and abroad have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention in the matter.
Ray was arrested earlier this month over his alleged role in protests against recent evictions from a slum in the city.