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Updated February 22nd, 2024 at 13:06 IST

Sandeshkhali Uprising: Public Outrage Over Mamata's Arbitrary Action, Support Grows For Republic

R Bangla journalist's illegal arrest has sparked outrage. Lawyers, bureaucrats, and political leaders united in condemning Mamata's attempt to attack themedia.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Nationwide Outcry Against Mamata
Nationwide Outcry Against Mamata | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: In a massive show of solidarity, lawyers, bureaucrats and several political leaders cutting across the party lines have united in a resounding condemnation of West Bengal's Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee's decision to muzzle the media. The arrest of R Bangla journalist Santu Pan earlier this week has ignited a wildfire of outrage, highlighting concerns over the perceived suppression of media freedom under the TMC supremo's administration. The Press Club of Kolkata expressed deep concern over recent developments and demanded the immediate release of R Bangla journalist. “We strongly condemn the arrest of on-duty reporter. It is imperative that press freedom is upheld and journalists are allowed to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal", the Press Club of Kolkata said. 

 

Press Club, Kolkata Condemns Arrest of R Bangla Reporter


 

Hitting out at Mamata, Union Minister Smriti Irani said,"The whole nation is asking who is Shah Jahan? Where is he? Instead of arresting Shah Jahan, a reporter has been arrested. Mamata Banerjee has sided with goons. This is not the first time the Republic has been targeted, the Republic's Editor-in-Chief Arnab was also targeted similarly. Media organisations should not remain silent, they will be next. The Chief Minister is protecting the goons."

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Former Commissioner of Police, Bangalore, Bhaskar Rao, also strongly condemned the arrest of the Republic Bangla reporter, saying, "West Bengal is a rogue state and there is complete lawlessness. TMC has successfully become a rogue state. ED, CBI and paramilitary forces have been attacked by the WB government. Media is being muscled and people are being terrorized. This is being done to throttle the media and I condemn the arrest of Republic Bangla reporter.

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Echoing similar sentiments, HD Kumaraswamy, Former Karnataka CM said that the act (arrest of R Bangla reporter) reminds us of Emergency. “In West Bengal, we have seen several instances for the past year which is not good for the democracy. Even a lady reporter was assaulted earlier, it’s not good on the part of the West Bengal government. Whatever criticism or ground reality is there our media friends are collecting the news and showing it to the public. Our Constitution itself says everybody has the freedom and this freedom is curtailed by the West Bengal government and is threatening several people in the democratic system and this is shameful on the part of the government. 

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"Dictatorship is going on in several places across the country. This reminds us of the Emergency. Central institutions should interfere in this matter, they have to give security to uplift the democratic system and must interfere and take necessary action according to the constitution”, the former Karnataka CM added.  

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Former Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and BJP leader Dr CN  Ashwath Narayan said, "I insist for President rule in West Bengal, there's complete lawlessness and Mamata Banerjee is running a jungle raaj.  The voice of the media has been stifled. The West Bengal government has always been abusing and misusing power. The people have been made miserable, lives are being taken, there's rape and this government should be dismissed.

Hitting out at Mamata, BJP's Locket Chatterjee said, "Where is democracy in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee repeatedly talks about Republic. When media people go to Sandeshkhali, they are arresting them. Sheikh Shahjahan's gang had carried out so many atrocities on women. Where were the police then? Those who are committing atrocities, will not be arrested. Those media people are going. They are talking, they are telling this to the country, and they are arresting them (media persons) there, Mamta Banerjee is a shame for us, she is trying to suppress the media, Santu raised a lot of voices, he is our younger brother, he is the voice of the woman from within the country. Moreover, Chatterjee asserted that soon Mamata Banerjee's ‘ego’ would collapse.

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Similarly, West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose stated that no attempt to muzzle the media will be tolerated. “I expect the government to take appropriate action”, West Bengal Governor said. 

Lambasting Mamata Banerjee, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Former CM of Madhya Pradesh said, “Democracy has been strangled, Mamta is not ashamed, Mamta has no affection, cruelty has come. The injustice that has been done to women, action is not being taken against those who commit injustice but action is being taken against the journalists of the Republic who show India the truth, this repression and terror will not continue.”    

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How Other Leaders, and Bureaucrats Reacted

Himanta Sharma, Assam CM

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On the Sandeshkhali incident, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "The condition of Bengal is very bad, the journalists there who are trying to show the reality are also being arrested.  The incident that happened in Sandeshkhali, one cannot even imagine about it.   I believe that the law will take its course. A government which commits atrocities like this will not last long."

Santhosh Lad, Labour Minister

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"I condemn this incident on the reporter of Republic. Any such incidents happening across the country, I will not endorse it, This shouldn't happen to any journalist. Journalists across the country shouldn't be shackled and they should be allowed to work without any restrictions. It's totally wrong in this country everybody has got freedom, If a journalist is working on a story and if he wants to bring truth to the people he should be allowed to do so."  

J&K's Royal Family speaks on Mamata's anarchy

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"It is height of anarchy Bengal. Mamata Banerjee is misusing power to suppress the voice of the fourth pillar.  Republic journalist who put facts has been arrested, Journalist should be released immediately", Grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh, Ajatshatru Singh to Republic.

CPI(M) leader Hannan Mollah on Gunda Raaj in WB

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"CPIM leader says Gunda Raaj in West Bengal. Criminals of TMC are throttling and shutting the voices of commoners. Journalists and left leaders are being attacked. From the park street rape case to Sandeshkhali west Bengal is in the hand of Mamta's goons. We don't demand presidential rule but strict action should be taken against Mamta Banerjee."

Bhaskar Gogoi, Member, Youth Commission, Assam

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"Insisted of arresting the main perpetrator Shahjahan Khan, they have arrested Republic Bangla reporter. We condemn this and hope everyone will come out and condemn it too."

Bijan Mahajan, Senior Advocate, Gauhati High Court

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"This is the story of only one Sandeshkhali and Mamata got scared, there are many other Sandeshkhali that needs to be spoken about. Mamata is running an absolute anarchy. This is not just an attack on media or the fourth pillar, this is an attack on the entire establishment of all four pillars. The ballot is the only answer to this anarchy of Mamata."

Nalin Kohli

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“What has happened is wrong legally and democratically. The brave reporter Santu Pan was exposing the horrific truths of Sandeshkali not only nationally but also globally. The courts will step in. Do expect a favourable verdict from the Calcutta High Court otherwise, the Supreme Court will step in. Republic Media Network is known to fight for truth and I know that you will continue to do so.”

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis

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“I condemn the act of Mamata Banerjee's police. They can't cover up their sins by suppressing press voices, TMC is involved in atrocities in WB. I feel the police can't take such action without Mamta's support.”

K  Annamalai

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“Our state president was brutally beaten and was in hospital. Our brave journalist friends, when they tried to cover the truth, were brutally attacked. They should all hang their head in shame. The CM should issue an apology for curtailing press freedom. PM’s message is to fight for democracy. I believe that the people of India need to teach a lesson to people like Mamata who has become a master of curtailing press freedom and has become a master of appeasement. I am sure she knows she is going to lose in a big way.”

‘Attempt to Stifle Dissent And Muzzle The Press Won’t be Tolerated'

At its core, this collective denouncement is not merely about a single journalist's arrest, but rather a broader defence of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and the crucial role that a free media plays in a vibrant democracy. The voices raised in protest against Mamata Banerjee's dictator-like actions serve as a powerful reminder of the enduring importance of safeguarding democratic institutions and liberties against any encroachment.

As the outcry against these actions reverberates across the nation, it sends a clear message that attempts to stifle dissent and muzzle the press will not be tolerated. In the face of such adversity, the unity demonstrated by lawyers, ordinary citizens, and political leaders serves as a beacon of hope, reaffirming the resilience of democratic values and the collective resolve to uphold them.

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Join The Campaign For Justice

Raise your Voice against the attempt to throttle Free Speech. Send us your videos and messages with the hashtag #MamataVsManush and #MamataArrestsMedia to join the campaign for Justice. 

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Published February 20th, 2024 at 12:00 IST

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