In Defence of Free Speech – Protests against Dr. Mahapatra arrests in Kolkata

Starting next week, Kolkata students are organizing protests inside and outside the campus in defence of free speech.

On the evening of 12 April 2012 and the early hours of 13 April 2012, Dr. Ambikesh Mahapatra, Professor of Chemistry at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India was assaulted by hoodlums affiliated with the current state government of West Bengal and then arrested and charged by the local police for sharing an anti-government cartoon online. His elderly neighbour, Mr. Subrata Sengupta was also arrested as a ‘fellow conspirator’. The cartoon contained a humorous reference to Ms. Banerjee, Chief Minister replacing Dinesh Trivedi with Mukul Roy as Railway Minister. The graphic used photographs of the three Trinamool Congress leaders and deployed words taken from Satyajit Ray’s film thriller ‘Sonar Kella’ to poke fun at an imaginary discussion between Ms. Banerjee and Mr Roy on how to replace Mr. Trivedi as Railway Minister.

For sending this cartoon to his acquaintances, Dr. Ambikesh Mahapatra has been charged with violating the modesty of a woman, spreading social ill-will and disrupting social harmony. View story here:

1. Withdrawal of all charges against Dr. Ambikesh Mahapatra and Mr. Subrata Sengupta
2. Withdrawal of the comments made by the two State Government ministers who labeled them as criminals before the media
3. Prosecution of those who criminally intimidated Dr. Ambikesh Mahapatra and Mr. Subrata Sengupta
4. Withdrawal of the West Bengal government’s decision to police the internet, including social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, by deploying the C.I. D. to swoop down on all critical voices.


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