Kolkata: A man, who
had publicly questioned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
about her government policies towards farmers, was Saturday
arrested from West Midnapore district for "disrupting a public
rally and assaulting police officers", police said.
The step has come in for criticism from civil society who slammed
Banerjee for her "growing intolerance".
"Shiladitya Chowdhury was arrested Saturday morning and booked for
disrupting a public rally, entering into a high security zone and
assaulting police personnel," Superintendent of Police, Jhargram,
Bharati Ghosh told IANS.
He was later remanded to 14 days' judicial custody by a court.
Banerjee, on a visit to the Maoist-affected Belpahari area in the
district Wednesday, was addressing a public rally when Chowdhury
stood up and asked her: "Farmers are dying because they have no
money. Empty promises are not enough. What are you doing for
Stunned by the question, an angry Banerjee immediately branded him
a "Maoist" following which Chowdhury was detained and taken for
interrogation by the police.
He was, however, allowed to go that day but was arrested Saturday
The arrest has drawn condemnation from the civil society and yet
again brought to the fore the temperamental nature of Banerjee,
who is known for losing her cool over the slightest of
"What can I say? The arrest is highly unwarranted and highlights
not only Banerjee's growing intolerance, but also her dictatorial
attitude. I don't know what has happened to her," social activist
and writer Mahasweta Devi told IANS.
Earlier Banerjee had stormed out of an interactive programme on a
TV channel following a barrage of questions by students, over the
arrest of a professor for forwarding a cartoon depicting her.
Branding them as "Maoists", Banerjee had even instructed police to
take photographs of those in the audience who had asked the
"I can only say that whatever has happened is highly deplorable.
Being a people's representative, Banerjee should have answered his
questions and not had him arrested," noted poet and novelist Sunil