“Will the government now step in to oversee how people use facebook, email or SMS?”

On a day a professor of the city's Jadavpur University was arrested for forwarding e-mails with humorous reference to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee replacing Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi with Mukul Roy, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra questioned here on Friday the State government's sense of self-esteem. He wondered whether it was as “fragile” as to take recourse to such a step to preserve it.

“Such a measure is laughable, childish and certainly points to an authoritarian trend of the State government,” said Dr. Mishra, who is also a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Taking a dig at the Trinamool Congress' slogan of “Ma, Mati, Manus (the mother, the land and the people),” Dr. Mishra said mothers were expected to raise their children “strong as steel,” but in this situation it appeared that they were being raised with the strength of “wet clay.”

“Is the esteem of the State government so fragile that it will be affected by something so insignificant? Will the government now step in to oversee how people use facebook, email or SMS,” asked Dr. Mishra.

Speaking about the emails, he said that they were nothing but “plain and simple humour” and the State government taking it seriously was “laughable.”

“The one thing that they have managed to do is to propagate the very thing they considered defamatory,” Dr. Mishra said. He himself had never seen the emails before and the controversy had now ensured that thousands of others would see it.

He said that much ado was being made over the 34 years of Left rule in West Bengal, but in the years that the Left Front was in power such an incident was “unimaginable.”