West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has indirectly criticised commissions and committees saying they should first be made accountable before they try and fix the accountability of others.
Addressing the state Assembly on Tuesday, Mamata Banerjee said, "There are so many committees in the country. Nothing has been done for ordinary people. Some people have got good things... house, car, money of commission, many advantages. What are they doing? They are calling officials. Making them wait for 12 out of 24 hours. When will the executive work. Before fixing accountability of others, those who are giving orders, their accountability should be fixed."
In this statement, many are seeing indirect criticism of the state Human Rights Commission which, on Monday, told the state to compensate two people arrested for circulating a cartoon lampooning the chief minister and take action against policemen involved the arrests.
One of the two, Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra who welcomed the Commission's recommendations saying, "This is a very good news for the people of West Bengal, especially who loves democracy, who nurtures democracy."
Ambikesh Mahapatra is a professor of chemistry at Jadavpur University and students there had taken to the streets to protest his arrest. "Well, I kind of feel happy at the fact that the human rights commission has at last recognised the fact that something wrong has been done, said Nirjhar Mukherjee. Some are still being cautious. "I hope this will make the government be a little more tolerant of criticism," said Avantika Deb, "though given the Shiladitya incident, I am not fully confident."
Indeed, the Commission's order came on a day Shiladitya Chowdhury was denied bail. Shiladitya had asked the chief minister a question at a public rally at Belpahari on August 8. Mamata had reacted angrily, pointing to him, claiming he was a Maoist and ordering the police to arrest him.
The police had detained Shiladitya for a while that day and then let him go. Yet two days later, on August 10, police came and arrested him for allegedly grievously hurting policemen on duty at the rally.
Meanwhile, Mamata's own rebel MP, Kabir Suman, has added to Trinamool's discomfiture with a song to Shiladitya.
Using the tune of a popular Rabindrasangeet, Kabir Suman has sung the following lyrics:
"Somehow or the other I will catch Shiladitya red handed and I will put him in jail
He will become my servant forever
I will do it I will do it I will do it
All protestors are definitely all Maoists
I will stop all protests
I will cut the throat of all protest
Where are the voices of protest?
Rabindranath, please forgive me
You know why I am parodying your song
It has beautifully matched my rhyme
The cartoon controversy had earned Mamata much criticism in April. Now the Shiladitya issue is drawing flak.