Congress leader arrested by police for social media post against Mamata Banerjee
According to the Congress, a spokesperson of its Bengal unit Sanmay Bandyopadhyay was picked up from his residence at Agarpara in North 24-Parganas district on Thursday night by a group of 50-60 persons who did not disclose their identity.Updated: Oct 19, 2019 03:16 IST
The arrest of a spokesperson of the Bengal unit of the Congress for using social media to criticise the Mamata Banerjee government triggered a political controversy in the state, with all opposition parties targetting the government for curbing democratic space.
According to the Congress, a spokesperson of its Bengal unit Sanmay Bandyopadhyay was picked up from his residence at Agarpara in North 24-Parganas district on Thursday night by a group of 50-60 persons who did not disclose their identity.
He was produced at a court in Purulia, about 280 kilometres away, on Friday.
“Sanmay Banerjee was arrested by the cyber crime section from Khardha area of North 24 Parganas district on Thursday on the basis of a complaint. In court, we prayed for seven days of police custody but the court granted two days,” said Akash Magharia, superintendent Purulia district police.
He was charged under sections 465 ( forgery), 469 (forgery for harming reputation), 500 (defamation), 505 (statements inducing public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code and section 66 (computer related offences) of the Information Technology Act.
He was arrested in connection with a case filed at Purulia cyber police station.
“He used to highlight on social media the injustices perpetrated by the ruling party. Over the past few days, he was focussing on what was happening in villages and districts. It (the arrest) is a political conspiracy,” said Tanmay Bandyopadhyay, the elder brother of Sanmay.
The leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and MP from Baharampur, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, condemned the arrest on social media. “Police arrested well-known spokesperson of the Congress and efficient journalist Sanmaybabu after storming his home simply because he criticised the government. ‘Didi’ this ugly attack of your won’t be able to weaken us,” Chowdhury wrote on social media.
Bengal Congress unit president Somen Mitra took a sharp dig at chief minister Mamata Banerjee (popularly known as Didi or elder sister). “She is criticising the Centre for being intolerant. What kind of tolerance is she practicing? TMC’s claim of being democratic has fallen flat on its face,” Mitra said.
The BJP and the Left demanded Banerjee’s immediate and unconditional release.
“TMC has proved once against what we have been repeatedly saying – there is no democratic space in Bengal. The battle for Bengal is all about restoring democracy,” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.
The TMC said it has nothing to do with the arrest. The party’s chief whip in the state Assembly, Nirmal Ghosh said: “The police acted on a complaint. It’s an administrative issue. The party has no role.”