Victimised Bengal prof gets relief

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission has recommended a compensation of Rs 50,000 each to a Jadavpur University professor and secretary of a housing society for circulating a cartoon that allegedly made travesty of Dinesh Trivedi’s ouster from the Railway Ministry and Mukul Roy’s subsequent induction.

The commission also suggested that departmental proceedings be initiated against two police officers of the Purba Jadavpur police station, additional officer in-charge Milan Kumar Das and sub-inspector Sanjoy Biswas, for mishandling the case.

“Commission’s Chairman Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly had summoned a number of officials, including the police commissioner Ranjit Kumar Pachnanda. The recommendations were made based on the findings,” said Joint Secretary S K Halder.

“The commission found there was no reason for the police officers to arrest professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and Subrata Sengupta. The way they handled the case is not acceptable,” Halder said. Neither an FIR was lodged nor a general diary entry made at the time of their arrests.

“The commission also noted that the complainant in the case, Amit Sardar, was not a member of the housing society. Hence, he did not get the e-mail. Besides, Mahapatra had already apologised for any offence caused by the satirical photo-strip in a second email sent a few days before his arrest,” Halder said.

The Jadavpur University professor was arrested on April 13 for circulating an email inspired by Satyajit Roy’s novel “Sonar Kella,” that showed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and incumbent Railway minister Mukul Roy conniving to remove Trivedi from office. Incidentally, the child protagonist of the novel was also named Mukul.

The arrests were condemned by all sections of society. Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee confirmed that he had received the report and would take action as required.

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