Division among intellectuals in one year of Mamata's rule

Last Updated: Sun, May 20, 2012 04:14 hrs
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Kolkata: A year into the rule of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal has seen a sharp division among intellectuals who once backed the Trinamool Congress chief, with some feeling that she was 'autocratic' and 'intolerant of criticism', but most agreeing that she needed more time.

Educationist Sunanda Sanyal, litterateur Mahasweta Devi, actor Kaushik Sen, writer Nabarun Bhattacharjee, Bengali poet Sankha Ghosh have been critical of the chief minister on various issues in the last few months.

The issues included the handling of the Park Street rape, select newspapers in state-run libraries, controversy over an anti-Mamata cartoon and the arrest of two professors.

Last month, some intellectuals had taken out a silent march in protest against a number of issues including the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra for forwarding a cartoon which lampooned Banerjee by email.

"Certain traits in her seem autocratic to me. Neither professors should have been arrested nor newspapers banned in state libraries. She is following in the footsteps of the previous Left Front government. This is certainly not a change for the better," Sunanda Sanyal told PTI.

Sanyal had resigned as head of the state school syllabus committee and higher education committee last year upset over the cabinet's decision for a no-detention policy upto standard eight.

Magsaysay Award winning writer Mahasweta Devi had called the Trinamool government 'fascist' for the police denying permission for a rally and hunger strike by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR). 

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