Facebook removed the controversial poem from my wall: Srijato Bandyopadhyay | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Facebook removed the controversial poem from my wall: Srijato Bandyopadhyay

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already assured the poet that nothing harsh will happen to him despite Siliguri Police registering an FIR on non-bailable sections against him.

kolkata Updated: Mar 26, 2017 14:15 IST
HT Correspondent
The poet claimed Facebook authorities removed the poem as most of the comments that targeted him used filthy language.
The poet claimed Facebook authorities removed the poem as most of the comments that targeted him used filthy language.(Facebook)

Facebook authorities have removed the controversial poem from his wall, poet Srijato Bandyopadhyay claimed on Saturday.

“Facebook authorities removed the poem that triggered such controversy over the past few days. Most of the comments were extremely distasteful,” Bandyopadhyay, 42, told the media on Saturday.

Read: Mamata Banerjee stands by Srijato Bandopadhyay, says democratic voices cannot be hushed up

However, Facebook on Sunday restored the post, apologising for the ‘mistake.

“The post was accidentally removed and has now been restored. This was a mistake, and we are sorry,” a Facebook spokesman said.

On March 19 , the 12-line poem virtually polarised the residents of West Bengal, with a member of a Hindu rights group lodging a police complaint on the grounds that it hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus. It culminated in Siliguri Police registering an FIR on non-baliable sections.

The chief minister vowed to protect the poet who, she said, was being targeted by the saffron camp for writing a political poem. Incidentally, Mamata Banerjee frequently tries her hand in composing poems and has books on poems to her credit. (HT Photo)

Over the next few days, the poem and the complaint virtually polarised the residents of the state with chief minister Mamata Banerjee asserting that nothing would happen to the poet.

On March 22, the police started a case and slapped non-bailable section of IT Act. Section 295A of the IT Act relates to “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs”. It carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and/or fine.

In the poem Bandyopadhyay criticised the outcome of the UP elections, took a veiled dig at chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath and made a ‘derogatory’ remark against Trishul, a quintessential Hindu symbol.

Read: Police start case, slap non-bailable section against Bengali poet for hurting ‘religious sentiments’

“I shall continue to write what I feel as a poet, undeterred by such complaints,” Bandyopadhyay told the media on March 22.

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh stood by complainant, Arnab Sarkar, a 20-year-old student who is also a member of Hindu Samhati, and criticised the poet. “He does not have too many readers. He has not only made distasteful comments against Hindu religion, but also made disparaging comments against Yogi Aditya Nath, who is an elected representative of the people,” remarked Ghosh.

Read: Ambikesh Mahapatra knocks on PMO door

“I will not give much importance to the issue. The majority of people in this country believe in freedom of speech. A degree of freedom of speech still exists in this country. Our country has not become Pakistan or Bangladesh, and one has the right to speak here. Since the past two days I have been trolled in Facebook after I posted the poem,” the poet had commented.

“Some of the comments against me are dangerous threats. These people, so called flag bearers of Hindutva, never read poems and I do not expect them to understand,” Bandyopadhyay also told HT.

Sarkar told HT, “I have reservations about the last line of the poem where he makes derogatory remarks about trishul, a quintessential symbol of Hindu religion.”

“I can tell you nothing harsh will happen to Srijato. Everyone has democratic rights. He wrote a poem, which is political. Those who are spreading saffronisation have lodged the complaint. In social media the poet is being targeted and threatened. I do not want to name anyone. They want to dictate what we will think and do,” said chief minister Mamata Banerjee, while speaking to a television channel.