Fought a legal battle for 10 years, was badly beaten; Such was the ‘punishment’ for sending a cartoon of Mamta Banerjee

Fought a legal battle for 10 years, was badly beaten;  Such was the ‘punishment’ for sending a cartoon of Mamta Banerjee

In the matter of sharing the cartoon of Mamta Banerjee, a professor had to fight a legal battle for 10 years and in the end he was acquitted by the court. In 2012, he was accused of forwarding derogatory cartoons about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the then Union Minister Mukul Roy. He was acquitted by the Alipore district court on 18 January. The court order said that the petitioner’s discharge petition is accepted and Ambikesh Mahapatra is released.

what was the charge

Actually Professor Mahapatra of Jadav University had shared a cartoon based on Satyajit Ray’s film Sonar Kella. In this, the faces were replaced with the faces of the then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, Mamta Banerjee and Mukul Roy. Within a day, a complaint was filed against him and he was arrested the same day. After being acquitted, Mohapatra said, “I am happy to be out of this.” But who will bring me back so many years. This case was dragged for so long without any reason.

He said, we had shared a collage of cartoons and some dialogues. Dinesh Trivedi, who was the Railway Minister at that time, had presented the Rail Budget and Mamata Banerjee did not agree on some of its points. Then Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. Mamta Banerjee put pressure on the Prime Minister and Mukul Roy was made Railway Minister. It was an unexpected event that the Railway Minister was changed as soon as the Rail Budget was presented. That was the cartoon on this issue.

He said that someone had also sent him that cartoon. After this sent it to a friend group on Gmail. Referring to the night of the arrest, he said that on that day 60-70 TMC workers had come with a complete plan. As per my rule, I was sitting in my office at Jadavpur University. I got late because of extra class. After that they blocked my way. After this they showed the printed copy of that cartoon and started beating me. I was kicked and punched. I was trembling with fear. I can’t forget that night. I pleaded with folded hands in front of those people but they did not show mercy.

Mohapatra said, I was given a blank paper and asked to write on it that he had deliberately forwarded the cartoon. I was told to write that I am a CPI(M) worker. Although all this was not true. I refused to write. After that they took me to the police station. After this my arrest memo was issued. Mohapatra also said that the arrest memo also gave false information about the place, the witness.

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