Kolkata: so-called “democracy” denounces questioning students, prompting cyber campaign of outrage online

Cyber campaign for apology from Mamata Banerjee

TNN May 22, 2012

KOLKATA: Scores of youngsters from Jadavpur and Presidency universities have launched a cyber campaign against chief minister Mamata Banerjee for branding a group of students “Maoists and CPM cadres” for asking her uncomfortable questions at a TV talk show.

“Can anything be funny and terrifying at the same time?” says one post. “She is ruining the anti-Left movement which was a very hard fought success,” says another.

Mamata had stormed out of the show after accusing Presidency student Taniya Bharadwaj a “Maoist”. The CM alleged that she was being asked “only CPM and Maoist questions”. The video has gone viral on the internet.

Tweets and posts have flooded social networking sites, condemning the chief minister’s “irresponsible and uninformed” remark. They demand that Mamata apologise to Taniya for the “slander”.

Facebook is abuzz with messages from students urging each other to join a campaign against “politics of terror” and make sure that Taniya and the other students who were present at the show (being recorded at Town Hall last Friday) were not persecuted. Many students have uploaded the TV clip of Mamata calling Taniya a Maoist and invited Netizens to view it and lodge their protest.

Shashank Shah, a Jadavpur University international relations student, who was present at the show, said his university mates felt scared initially.

“They were worried about being taken to task for angering the chief minister. Word went around that the police were looking for our telephone numbers and that we could be questioned for our supposed Maoist links. But soon we found that these fears were unfounded and realized that we should rather be protesting the unfair comments and not be afraid. We condemn her remark and will carry on our campaign on the internet,” said Shah.

“It was unfair on her part to call Taniya a Maoist without even knowing her. She owes her an apology. Aren’t Maoists and CPM supporters Indian citizens too? Don’t they have the right to demand answers from the chief minister?” he asked. Continue reading

Palestinians voice resistance, PA suppresses dissent

Dozens of journalists, activists arrested as PA cracks down on dissent

Jerusalem, 1 May 2012

Palestinian journalists in Gaza City protest the arrest of West Bank journalist Yousef al-Shayab, 4 April 2012. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

JERUSALEM (IPS) – The Palestinian Authority’s arrest of journalists and activists critical of its policies are threatening freedom of expression in the West Bank, according to local human rights groups.

“We monitored a new trend of arresting people and journalists and the oppression of freedom of expression,” Shawan Jabarin, director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, said. “There are many people I’m sure that are afraid and will count to ten before they say anything. Maybe they’ll push people to speak underground instead of expressing their opinions freely.” Continue reading