New Delhi, Aug 13: Chief of Press Council of India Markandey Katju slammed West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for being "dictatorial, intolerant and whimsical" over the arrest of a person who asked her a question during a rally at Belpahari in West Midnapore last Wednesday.
Katju said by getting the man, Shiladitya Chowdhury, arrested after calling him a Maoist, Banerjee was misusing the state machinery and violating constitutional and human rights. Chowdhury drew the CM's ire for asking what steps the latter had taken for the betterment of the farmers' lot in the state.
He said such undemocratic action proved that Banerjee did not deserve to be a leader in a democratic country. Katju, a former Supreme Court judge, also warned the administrative and police authorities of Bengal against taking such orders which he termed illegal. He said by doing so, they would meet consequences similar to the Nazi criminals who had paid dearly for acting on Hitler's instructions.
Katju said during the Nuremburg Trials after the Second World War, the Nazi war criminals made a plea that they had only carried Hitler's orders but their justification was quashed and they were hanged. The Bengal officials should learn from that verdict, he said.
It was the same Katju who had praised shower on Banerjee not very long ago for her integrity and clean image and advised her critics to see her outstanding quality instead of the drawbacks. Admitting that, Katju, who always expresses his views with articulation, said he had a totally different opinion now. He said Banerjee had acted in a dictatorial way earlier also.
A few months ago, Banerjee called a college student a Maoist after she asked some simple questions during a TV talk show. The Trinamool chief also got a university professor arrested for circulating cartoon lampooning her and some of her partymen through mail. Banerjee's government also drew flak for imposing ban on certain newspapers to be kept in state libraries.