Undemocratic Mamata orders police inquiry on student who raised voice!!!

Cartoon: R. Prasad: Sohail Abdi, a second-year student of history at Presidency College who was also present on the TV show, said Mamata was ‘undemocratic’.

Next time you get a chance to ask West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee a question or criticise any of her moves, think twice as you could be labelled a Maoist sympathiser or a CPM cadre.

Taniya Bhardwaj, a student of political science at Kolkata’s Presidency College, dared to do as much on a TV news channel’s show on Friday at the Town Hall here. A furious Mamata labelled Taniya a ‘Maoist and a CPM cadre’ and asked the police to do a background check on those asking awkward questions.  Immediately after the show was recorded on Friday evening, some officers of the state police’s special branch descended on the TV channel’s office in Kolkata and demanded that the contact details of the participants be handed over.

She asked a simple question about the conduct of state ministers and officials over crimes against women. Taniya is now quite apprehensive about the consequences as the Kolkata police have already started collecting information about the students who asked Banerjee uncomfortable questions on the show.

‘Have I done anything wrong? I just asked a simple question. She could have avoided the question easily. But she started castigating the audience instead,’ Taniya said.

The CM lost her cool when members in the audience questioned her on the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and the increased attacks on women in the state.

Read full story by SOUDHRITI BHABANI  in MailOnlineIndia: Didi unleashes cops on students

Fine Print: Rajya Sabha to vote on Indian Media Censorship!

The Rajya Sabha is expected to vote on a motion on Friday that seeks to annul rules enabling individuals to demand removal of any content they deem offensive, on the grounds that these guidelines restrict freedom of expression. (courtesy: Bhuvaneshwari Joshi)

The Telegraph wishes SHUBHA BANGLA NAVAVARSHA

If you are still not wearing such handcuffs in Bengal, Subha Nava Varsha and read on…

The Telegraph describes the present situation in West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee….

First, you can’t laugh in Bengal at the expense of those in power.

“This is very autocratic….
I earlier did not want to use the word `scary’ but I have to admit that this scares me,“

said economist Abhirup Sarkar, who has been a vocal supporter of the new government on several issues.

Second, even the everyday act of circulating something that you have found humorous could cause you bodily harm and invite police action.

Third, if you happen to be the secretary of your residential society and if someone uses the society’s mail to send jokes that the ruling party finds offensive, you are in trouble.

Fourth, the offence of attempting to outrage the modesty of a woman has been given a mystifying definition.
The Telegraph is publishing the cartoon (left) so that readers can make up their own mind if it outrages the modesty of anyone and if it is obscene as charged.

Sukanta Chaudhuri, professor emeritus, Jadavpur University,the renowned academic known for measured words, expressed incredulity.

“When the chief minister of the state is a woman, then should every criticism of the government now amount to insulting the honour of a woman? Then any speech becomes impossible!“

If you manage to escape or survive all the tribulations mentioned above, you still can be beaten up near your home and forced to sign a confessional statement -the fate that awaited Mahapatra, the chemistry professor, on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday .

CM Mamata says,

Mischief, If someone commits some mischief, what will police do? Won’t they arrest him? And if somebody is arrested, the CPM’s two channels and a handful of newspapers will start a slander campaign against us.They will show it through the day . I will feed you (CPM) well, dress you well, let you sleep in a cool room and ensure all comforts but you have to go to sleep for 10 years.“

The last sentence was a message to the CPM.

“Aami paari….Bus dhore chole aashi eikhane. Bus-ta barir samne nabiye dyay.Bikri kore chole jaye “

Hearts meet and melt on a Chowringhee pavement

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Here’s to the spirit of Calcutta, alive and kicking in the grit of an 83-year-old selling savouries on a pavement, the compassion of a college girl passing by and the response of strangers to a Facebook post for support.

Octogenarian Shila Ghosh changes two buses to reach the Exide crossing on Chowringhee Road from Bally, in Howrah, every afternoon to sell chips on the pavement outside Haldiram till the flow of the homebound-crowd ebbs.

Her breadwinner son died of a heart ailment around six months ago and she needs the money — around Rs 150 on an average for an evening’s toil — to supplement her grandson’s meagre earnings from odd jobs.

College girl Sufia Khatoon didn’t know Shila’s story, but would often pause to watch her from a distance and wonder what circumstances might have forced a woman older than her grandmother to spend evenings working.

Sufia felt she needed to do something about it. A Facebook post later, 22 other Samaritans converged on the busy junction around 5.30pm last Friday to surprise Shila with “a small donation”.

Shila, stooping of body but upright of mind, had a bigger surprise for them.

“She accepted the Rs 1,600 we had mobilised for her but declined further monetary help. She told us she wanted to earn a living rather than live off donations,” Sufia recalled.

If the group was still willing to help her, Shila said she would rather they set up a kiosk for her. “Aami paari….Bus dhore chole aashi eikhane. Bus-ta barir samne nabiye dyay.Bikri kore chole jaye (I am capable of earning my bread. I come here and return by bus, it drops me in front of my house),” she told Metro.

Last heard, the list of Shila admirers had swelled, each member eager to ease her strain without making her feel she was dependent on anyone.

“We are dealing with someone very strong in the mind. I believe the initiative should not end with donating some money. We need to find a long-term solution to problems faced by people like Shila,” said Sanjay Dutta, a 42-year-old Park Circus businessman.

Amitava Sinha Chaudhury, a 20-year-old college student who had responded to Sufia’s post and turned up at the Exide crossing on Friday, said it would be an insult to Shila if people offered her “alms”.

Mashi (aunt)’s never-say-die spirit should be respected. We bought almost half her stock of chips that day to help her without making her feel we were doing her a favour,” Amitava said.

Kalyani Bhowmick, 25, had stopped to see why there was a commotion around the elderly woman and ended up joining the group.

“I wasn’t aware of this group. I salute them for what they have volunteered to do and will be glad to do my bit to help Mashi in whatever way I can,” Kalyani said.

Sufia sees the spontaneous response to her plea for support on Facebook as an opportunity to carry her desire to help people like Shila forward.

“It all started with my first glimpse of Mashi. She reminded me of my grandmother and I thought hers wasn’t the age to work, but to rest at home,” she recounted.

So what made her post Shila’s story on Facebook? “I just felt I should do it and I tagged my friends. Their contacts saw the post and soon a few of us started interacting to find out how we could help. We decided to meet and the rest fell into place,” Sufia said.

On Friday, a couple of members of the group even escorted Shila home in a taxi, sparing her the usual bus ride to Bally. “Many people saw us giving her money. So we thought it wouldn’t be safe to let her go on her own,” said Amitava.

Sufia, who has just started the Facebook page OurWorldOurInitiative to further the cause, hopes her small step for Mashi would inspire a giant leap in the service of the city’s downtrodden.