West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday expressed her condolences for the family of the deceased Ghaziabad-based journalist Vikram Joshi, who was shot dead by miscreants on Tuesday.
Taking to Twitter, the West Bengal Chief Minister said that voices are being muzzled in the country and added media is not being spared. She added that an atmosphere of fear has been created in the country.
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Vikram Joshi, a fearless journalist who passed away today. He was shot in UP for filing an FIR to book his niece’s molesters. An atmosphere of fear has has been created in the country. Voices being muzzled. Media not spared. Shocking.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 22, 2020
Mamata Banerjee’s indirect attack on the Modi government over the issue of free speech comes a day after she had launched a similar attack on the BJP claiming there is a reign of fear across the country.
People are unable to speak due to reign of fear across the country,” Mamata Banerjee said while addressing a virtual rally of the Trinamool Congress.
People unable to speak due to reign of fear across the country: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at TMC rally— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) July 21, 2020
Ironically, Mamata Banerjee’s attack against Modi government over stifling voice of the media comes at the backdrop of her government’s poor record in being tolerant to media criticism of the West Bengal government.
The West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee has time and again intimated journalists and media for criticizing the functioning of her government. Recently, Sheikh Safiqul Islam, a journalist in West Bengal who runs a web news channel named Arambagh TV, was arrested by the West Bengal police on June 29.
The Arambagh TV faced action from the state government after it had questioned the Mamata Banerjee government over making donations to various clubs in the state during the Coronavirus pandemic. After the channel exposed that many clubs which had received grants from the government actually do not exist, several FIRs were filed against the channel and its owner Sheikh Safiqul Islam.
FIR against OpIndia
The Mamata Banerjee-led government had filed three FIRs against four persons, three of them associated with OpIndia, for publishing articles on the portal.
However, the Supreme Court of India had to intervene in the matter, to quash the FIR registered against three persons associated with Opindia. The apex court had also issued notice to the state government over the issue.
Worsening law and order situation in West Bengal
Mamata Banerjee’s attack on Uttar Pradesh’s government over its law and order situation also comes at the backdrop of an increasing number of crimes targetting political opponents in the state of West Bengal.
Just two days back, in a gruesome incident, the 16-year-old sister of a BJP booth President was abducted from her home, raped and murdered on Sunday morning in Chopragaj in Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal. The BJP unit of West Bengal tweeted that the 16-year-old girl was raped by one Feroze Ali, who was allegedly associated with the TMC.
Earlier this week, a BJP MLA in West Bengal, Debendra Nath Roy, was found hanging in public last Monday. Debendra Nath Roy was missing from Sunday night. The family of the deceased has called it murder and allegations have been made against the Trinamool government.