Mamata cartoon: Prof thrown in jail; CM defends cop action


A Jadavpur University professor was arrested today for allegedly posting a cartoon on the internet showing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in poor light after she forced out Dinesh Trivedi and put Mukul Roy in his place as Railway minister.

The arrest of Ambikesh Mohapatra, a Chemistry professor, sparked outrage with opposition CPI(M) and the academic community saying the police action was "atrocious" and a "clear assault" on the minimum democratic right of the freedom of expression. The professor was later granted bail by an Alipore court.

After his release, the professor alleged he had been beaten up last night by a Trinamool supporters who also made him sign a document where he was forced to write that he was a member of the CPI(M). They also made him 'confess' that he had deliberately circulated the cartoon by mail before handing him to the police, Mohapatra said.

The professor was arrested along with his neighbour. They were booked under offences that were bailable at the police station, but the two were kept in lock-up the whole night and produced in court today afternoon.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee later defended the arrest and blamed the CPI(M) for raising trivial issues to "malign" her.

"They don't do any work but think of ways to frame me," Banerjee said, targetting the CPI(M) hours after the police action that led to strong condemnation from the academic community and the Left.

"...They commit crimes and once people are arrested they run it on their channels for the whole day," she said at a public event. The Trinamool Congress supremo warned this will not be allowed to go on.

Defending the police action, state Transport Minister Madan Mitra alleged a conspiracy had been hatched to humiliate and malign the chief minister.

Describing Jadavpur University as a 'den of Maoists', Mitra said "besides being educated, one must learn how to be civilised." "It is unethical to spread canards against any person," he said.

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