West Bengal: BJP leader arrested for posting meme of Mamata Banerjee

Priyanka Sharma, a Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing leader in Howrah, West Bengal, has been arrested for posting a photoshopped image of state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on her Facebook account.  

The image, which went viral soon after the news of the arrest of the woman spread on social media platforms, shows Mamata Banerjee’s face superimposed over Priyanka Chopra’s recent Met Gala attire. 

Priyanka Sharma

A complaint was immediately filed against Priyanka Sharma, whose Facebook profile describes her as ‘Howrah district club cell convenor at Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha-BJYM’. 

Following the arrest, a debate has erupted over the intolerance of the Mamata government, which has always accused the BJP government at the Centre of being intolerant. 

The complaint against Priyanka Sharma was filed by Trinamool Congress leader Vibhas Hazra. “She not just tries (sic) to insult our Hon’ble Chief Minister, but she trying to insult the culture of our Bengal by her post on Facebook and which is Cyber Crime,” read the complaint. 

This isn’t the first time the ruling TMC dispensation has clamped down on dissenting voices. In March, author Tina Biswas, who had written a novel critical of the TMC supremo, had alleged harassment during her book launch in Kolkata.  

Last year, a man from Tripura was arrested for allegedly making demeaning remarks against the West bengal CM on social media. 

In the ongoing general elections, West Bengal is witnessing unprecedented political violence. Both BJP and CPM leaders have blamed Mamata Banerjee for inflicting violence on her political rivals. 

At a time, when Opposition leaders are making a big hue and cry about democracy being in danger under Narendra Modi government, the numerous transgressions in Bengal under the Mamata Banerjee rule hardly draw a squeak from the media and self-styled intellectuals. 

Despite positioning herself as a champion of free speech, Mamata Banerjee has always taken a dim view of satire. A timely reminder of this ahead of the sixth phase of elections in West Bengal came with the arrest of Priyanka.