Taking on West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for getting a professor arrested for reportedly forwarding and posting on a social networking site a cartoon that showed her in a poor light along with two of her party colleagues, Justice Markandey Katju, chairperson of the Press Council of India, on Wednesday said it was “immature behaviour” on her part and totally “unacceptable in democracy.”
“Mamata Banerjee should have behaved in a more mature manner. She must learn to grow up now. She must realise, she holds the responsible position of a Chief Minister,” Justice Katju said during an interaction here at the Indian Women's Press Corps, but added that he had never ever heard anyone question her personal integrity for which he respected her.
“She must learn to be an administrator. Now she is no longer in the Opposition. She must learn some democratic way of functioning.”
A senior professor of the Jadavpur University and the secretary of a housing society in Kolkata were arrested last week for reportedly forwarding an e-mail that contained a cartoon featuring Ms. Banerjee, Mukul Roy and Dinesh Trivedi.
Chemistry professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and 72-year-old Subrata Sengupta have been booked under IPC Sections 509 (word, gesture or act insulting the modesty of a woman), Section 500 (defamation) and Section 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) and Section 66 A(b) of the IT Act (causing offence using a computer) but are out on bail now.
Responding to questions, Justice Katju remarked that Ms. Banerjee must learn to take these things in her stride. “There is nothing to get so upset about. I have been shown in the cartoons many times. Criticism can help her overcome weaknesses.”
Justice Katju was also critical of the Chief Minister's order to libraries to purchase only Bengali newspapers. “Let the libraries buy whatever they want to. How can you stop English? It is the window to knowledge and the West. All books and communications are in English. Without knowing English, our children will be good only to pull bullock carts,” he said, while clarifying that it was equally important to learn the Indian languages.
Justice Katju said he had conveyed to her party colleague Sultan Ahmed that she should “change her ways.”