West Bengal opposition condemns police action on mediapersons


Kolkata : The opposition parties in West Bengal condemned the police action on mediapersons covering soccer legend Diego Maradona’s meeting with communist patriarch Jyoti Basu Sunday.

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“I strongly condemn the police action on the mediapersons who went there for a professional reason. Being a senior politician of the state, I feel ashamed about the incident. Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty, who was looking after the entire programme, should be held answerable to people,” senior state Congress leader and former city mayor Subrata Mukherjee told IANS.

He said the representatives should come forward and protest against such attack on the fourth estate.

“The incident is unpardonable. In a democratic set-up, people should hit the streets in protest of such police attack on the freedom of press,” added Mukherjee.

A section of journalists was allegedly beaten up Sunday by the West Bengal police and private security personnel outside Basu’s Salt Lake residence.

The trouble erupted when the journalists were told on reaching the venue that they would have to produce invitation passes specifically given for the programme, and the accreditation cards given for Maradona’s visit to the city would not do.

At least five journalists were allegedly assaulted by the security personnel. One of them reportedly had to be taken to a hospital with a serious leg injury.

“This is another glaring example of police atrocity in West Bengal. It’s a sickening attack on the innocent mediapersons,” said Saugata Mukherjee of the state’s principal opposition Trinamool Congress.

West Bengal’s ruling Left Front coalition member Forward Bloc (FB) also criticised the police.

“It’s really a very unfortunate event. We never support any attack on the media. They should always be allowed to work freely in any situation. The organisers should apologise for this police action,” senior FB leader Naren Chattopadhyay told IANS.

When journalists Saturday approached Sports Minister and CPI-M leader Subhas Chakraborty complaining about some untoward incidents during Maradona’s felicitation programme at the Salt Lake stadium, he refused to listen to them and called the media “undisciplined”.

Chakraborty also threatened mediapersons saying, “Do you know who I am … I’ll be compelled to raise my hands against you.”

State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Rahul Sinha said, “The CPI-M minister attacked the freedom of press as he wanted mediapersons to act according to his instructions.”