Setting another example of intolerance, the Mamata Banerjee administration arrested Shiladitya Choudhury, a man in his forties who shouted to the chief minister during her public rally on August 8 that her announcements in Jangalmahal were turning out to be false.
Choudhury was arrested on Saturday morning.
“Shiladitya has been arrested on charges of creating obstacles to government work and threatening government officials. He also violated the security zone,” said Bharati Ghosh, the superintendent of police of Jhargarm police district said.
According to police and court sources 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty), 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 447 (punishment for criminal trespass) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) IPC was given against Shiladitya.
On Wednesday, during a public rally in Belpahari (a Maoist den about 170km to the west of Kolkata) Chowdhury stood on the border of the ‘security zone’ and shouted to the chief minister who was addressing the crowd, "You are giving false promises and the promises would not be fulfilled."
Mamata Banerjee immediately marked him as a Maoist and ordered the police officials to arrest him. The police detained him but released Choudhury when they found out that the man just wanted to voice his problems to the chief minister.
Siladitya, a father of two children, earlier worked as conductor of a bus which he gave up due to illness. With the earnings from a land of about one bigha, he now somehow runs his family of five.
The incident prolongs a list that is widely held as a mark of intolerance of the chief minister herself. On 12 Ambikesh Mahapatra, chemistry professor of Jadavpur University was arrested by officers of East Jadavpore police station for circulating a spoof of Mamata Banerjee and her close confidante railway minister Mukul Roy.
The chief minister later supported the police and alleged the spoof was actually an instigation to kill her and Roy. At the recording of a TV chat show on May 20, confronted by a student of Jadavpur University in her late teens, Mamata snapped back at an uncomfortable question and immediately labeled her as a Maoist before walking off the show.
On April 4, Kolkata Police transferred joint commissioner (crime) Damayanti Sen allegedly for her stand in the infamous Park Street rape case where a 37-year old Anglo-Indian mother of two was raped in a moving car on February 5. While the chief minister claimed the incident was a concoction to malign her government, Sen refused to buy that version, pursued the case and established gang rape in the chargesheet.
“My son is not a Maoist. He only wanted to air his grievance. We do not know why police arrested him. If he has done something wrong, I would request the chief minister to forgive him,” said Sandhya Choudhury, his mother.
Locals were also surprised when they came to know about the arrest.
“Whenever she does not like any comment, she brands the man as a Maoist. This is autocracy,” remarked Arun Das, a human right activist in West Midnapore.
“It is another example of intolerance of the chief minister. The government is just not ready to tolerate any word that is against them,” said CPI(M) central committee member Mohammad Selim at a rally in the district on Saturday.