Toongate professor awarded compensation

 The West Bengal Human Rights Commission Monday recommended departmental proceedings against two police officers for arresting two people including a Jadavpur University professor for online circulation of graphics of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The commission, which had taken suo motto cognisance of the incident, also ordered the state government to pay a compensation of Rs.50,000 each to professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour and retired engineer Subrata Sengupta. Both were arrested in April.

"The government must compensate Mahapatra and Sengupta for the manner in which they were arrested from their residential complex and detained for a non-cognisable offence. The compensation (should) be paid within a period of six weeks," commission chairman Asok Kumar Ganguly said.

The commission described the incident as a case of police excess and high handedness and recommended departmental proceeding against two officers of the East Jadavpur police station.

"Citizens who are airing critical opinion about the ruling party cannot be picked up from their residence by police at the instance of an agitated mob. If this is allowed to continue then not only the human rights of the dissenters will perish, free speech which is life blood of the democracy will be gagged," observed Ganguly.

Welcoming the commission's decision, Mahapatra sought action against those on whose behest they were arrested.


"It is surely good news but I would be happier if action is taken against the big boss on whose order the policemen acted and arrested Sengupta and me," Mahapatra told IANS.
He refused to say if the "big boss" was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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