According to a news reported by IBNLive, a college student in Kolkata has been booked for sharing anti cartoons of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on his Facebook account. The police complaint was initiated by the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad i.e. the TC student’s wing against Ram Nayan Choudhury who had been circulating cartoons indicting the Chief Minister of West Bengal.
Ram is a second year student of a college in Salt Lake area who confirmed that the cartoon was created to poke fun. It criticizes the chief minister’s industrial growth agenda and the arrest of a poor farmer after allegedly branding him as a Maoist. Additionally Ram added that he has been targeted because of his political background and the cartoon circulation is just a cover up. Ram is an activist of CPI(M) and students wing SFI.
The entire episode brings back the on and off relationship between Mamata Banerjee and social media. This is not for the first time when someone has been booked for circulating cartoons on Facebook. Last year the chief minister was all over the news after her government ordered the arrest of Jadavpur University chemistry professor Ambikesh Mahapatra. The professor was arrested because he had circulated cartoons of the chief minister and the then Railway Minister Mukul Roy. Later on the professor was released on bail after it led to a widespread criticism on curbing of freedom of speech.
Later on the chief minister did a smart move by adopting social media to spread her voice among the youth. She created an impressive Facebook presence and during her recent spat with the GOI, she had used the medium to express herself openly before her fans. Of late her party was again in the news since TC was searching for a firm that would monitor the party’s presence 24*7. The initiative was to find an agency that would not only monitor the online presence but also look at other channels of communication and present reports to the chief minister.
Not sure if the said move has been implemented and is Ram one of the early victims but I am sure if he is then he won’t be the last one.
Hate speech should be regulated but not at the cost of personal gains. Though it is not clear what section will the police apply on Ram but it clearly indicates that it is just not a simple case of cartoon sharing on Facebook.
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