A group of Bengali film and theatre personalities as well as activists wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to draw her attention towards recent incidents of violence in the state. The group, calling themselves Citizen Speak India, includes veteran film actor and director Aparna Sen.
The letter mentions the police lathicharge against protesting teachers in Kalyani on Saturday, 17 August. The teachers’ demands included salary hike and permanent designations. The letter also brings up a teachers’ protest in Kolkata which was disrupted by the police on Monday.
"“Instead of trying to resolve the peaceful democratic protests of teachers of this state through sane dialogue and debate, the administration has been resorting to undemocratic means of quashing these protests by the use of police brutality. On 19 August, today, the hunger strike platform being organised at Subodh Mallick Square by part-time teachers of colleges and universities, was forcibly stopped by the police and some of the participants were picked up.”"
The letter also raises the issue of the assault on a theatre activist on Thursday, 15 August.
"“On 15 August 2019, at the Academy of Fine Arts complex, three small street plays were enacted at the initiative of ‘Actors United’ in front of a gathering united against communalism and fundamentalism. Shubhankar Das Sharma, a member of Actors United, was attacked and beaten up by unknown assailants at Dumdum while returning home at the end of the performance.”"
“We feel that such incidents are, in effect, an attack on all artistes propagating free thought, and should be condemned with the same severity as any case of lynching anywhere else in India” the letter added.
The other signatories in the letter include actors Koushik Sen, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Riddhi Sen, and activists Bolan Gangopadhyay and Rupsha Dasgupta.
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