Tina Biswas, a UK-based novelist, who authored a book based on the Dhakuria AMRI Hospital fire in Kolkata, has alleged harassment by the ruling Trinamool Congress when she recently went to the city to launch her book.
Speaking to India Today, the author of ‘The Antagonists’, Tina Biswas said, “She (Mamata Banerjee) sent two men to my event at the Oxford Bookstore in Park Street, Kolkata. There were these two men standing throughout the event at the book store, who were constantly staring at me and looking suspicious. They looked shifty.”
Tina Biswas said that she felt unsafe as those two men who didn’t have anything to do with the event, kept staring at her throughout. Neither did they ask her anything during the launch or after it, confirmed Biswas.
At the Oxford Bookstore event on March 20, when Biswas inquired about the two men from her associates on whether they were part of the store or the PR agency, she was told they were Trinamool goons who were sent to watch her.
Intimidated by this, Biswas recalled another incident in Kolkata which made her feel equally insecure. The novelist said she was addressing a press conference at the Kolkata Press Club when even before the interaction could start, a man came up to her and verbally abused her for writing against Mamata Banerjee.
‘The Antagonists’ is a fictional book based on the devastating fire incident at the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata’s Dhakuria area which happened in the year 2011. The story is about Devi, the chief minister of West Bengal, and Sachin Lohia, owner of a hospital that was gutted in a fire that also killed over 100 patients.
Speaking to IndiaToday, Tina Biswas said, “The incident was politicised and judgment was passed against the owner of the hospital even before there was an investigation. The whole tragedy was politicised to suit the purpose of one person.”
The book and its author are presumably in Mamata’s radar as the book is critical of the Mamata Banerjee government’s handling of the crisis.
Mamata Banerjee usually can’t handle criticisms too well. There have been several incidences where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has tried to stifle dissenting voices.
Recently, a Bengali movie, Bhobishyoter Bhoot (Ghost of the Future), directed by Anik Dutta, which took a dig at Mamata Banerjee’s style of functioning, was pulled off theatres. It was only after a public outcry that theatres in Kolkata have started screening the film again.
Similarly, a revising committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had refused to clear movie named Kangal Malsat for screening, after claiming it “insulted” Mamata Banerjee. Likewise, Teen Kanya’s screening was stopped by Mamata since it resembled the Park Street rape case of 2012.
Last year a man hailing from Tripura’s Dhalai district was arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a social media post.
As per reports, one Arunachal Dutta Choudhary, an employee of West Bengal Health Service was suspended over a Facebook post, which described the adverse condition in his hospital which has been facing a wave of dengue patients in the year 2017 as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee holds the health portfolio in the state government.
The list of bans is long but perhaps the most absurd was the incident where Mamata’s police arrested a businessman for ranting about traffic conditions on Facebook and not apologizing about it.