KOLKATA: Courting 'controversy' has become Mamata Banerjee's riding habit. This time the West Bengal chief minister finds herself in a tangle as police raided the office of a publisher that published a book critical of Banerjee's policies and the state government.
The book, Musalmander Koronio (What Muslims Should Do), has been written by an IPS officer: Nazrul Islam, additional director general (training) of WB police. It was released by Mitra and Ghosh Publishers about a week ago and discusses the state of the Muslim community in Bengal and how to improve their lot.
Terming police action as an act of hooliganism, Indrani Mitra, daughter of one of the partners of the publishing house, said the police raided their stall without a search warrant and ordered that the book should not be out for sale in the market.
Nazrul Islam has argued that promising reservation for Muslims and announcing allowances for Imams would not help the community progress. He has advocated modern education for Muslims.
The author in the book took on the government, saying that no promises made by Mamata has been kept to uplift the minority community and the measures that the government implemented were hypocritical and creating more of a divide than bringing them into the mainstream.
Islam also questioned the government's policy of opening more madrasas in the state and asked why should there be a minority university.
Sabitendranath Roy, owner of the publishing firm, said police raided his shop on College Street for two hours on Friday. "When I protested, they said they wanted to buy five copies of the book. They also asked me not to sell the book," he said. "Has the government banned the book? This is nothing but muscle flexing by the government."
This raid comes barely a month after a farmer was arrested for questioning Mamata Banerjee about the government policies towards farmers.
The Mamata government has come under severe criticism for its intolerance and eagerness to curb freedom of expression whenever someone has written or said something that is even remotely anti-Mamata.
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