Kolkata: It was a cartoon on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that earned Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta, the West Bengal government's ire. The two are now out on bail, after being arrested for sharing the satirical cartoon with others through the university e-mail system.
Mahapatra alleges that he was roughed up by Trinamool Congress workers and forced to write an apology, confessing to being a CPI-M supporter. He was then arrested by the police.
Said Mahapatra, "The incident has raised serious concerns about freedom of speech in Bengal. Teachers at the university are protesting."
His colleague Partha Roy said, "In one sense this is scary and now I am also confused whether I should say some things or not."
The cartoon drew on dialogues from a Satyajit Ray classic to mock Mamata Banerjee's policies. The Trinamool Congress alleged it defamed Mamata and party leaders Mukul Roy and Dinesh Trivedi.
The duo may have been granted bail. But a considerable damage to perception about the Mamata Banerjee government may already be striking deep roots among significant sections of urban intelligentsia who feel the situation is moving from abnormal to scary.