West Bengal Police have raided the office of a leading publisher and instructed him not to sell a book critical of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the state government.
Incidentally, the book has been written by Nazrul Islam, additional director general (training) of WB police.
The IPS officer’s book titled Musalmander Koronio (What Muslims Should Do) was released by Mitra and Ghosh Publishers about a week ago and discusses the state of the Muslim community in Bengal and how to improve their lot.
Islam has argued that promising reservation for Muslims and announcing allowances for Imams would not help the community progress. He has advocated modern education for Muslims.
Sabitendranath Roy, owner of the publishing firm, said police raided his shop on College Street for two hours on Friday. "When I protested, they said they wanted to buy five copies of the book. They also asked me to not the sell the book," he said. "Has the government banned the book? This is nothing but muscle flexing by the government."
The raid comes barely five months after the government attracted criticism for arresting a Jadavpur University professor and his neighbour for e-mailing a spoof on the CM.
Kolkata police commissioner RK Pachnanda did not respond to text messages for comment. Islam remained mum.
Writer Sunil Gangopadhyay, president of Sahitya Akademi, condemned the raid. "This is a clear attempt to gag the freedom of a writer."
Filmaker Mrinal Sen said, "It is alarming the way freedom of expression has been attacked. It makes me uneasy. Where is our state heading?"
Congress leader Arunabha Ghosh said, "Intolerance is etched all over this move (raid)."