Kolkata: A youth was quizzed by police on Sunday after he asked a minister why Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not visit a slum in West Bengal where 700 shanties were destroyed in fire a day earlier.
The incident happened during Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim’s visit to Sholo Bigha slum in the Maheshtala Santoshpur area of South 24-Parganas where a blaze had rendered 1,500 people homeless Saturday morning.
Pratap Naskar, who later claimed to be a Trinamool Congress worker, was led by police to an outpost where they said they only verified his address and let him go.
“I asked him (Hakim) why the chief minister has not come after such a big incident?” the youth told a TV channel.
“The minister got me removed. I was later taken to a police outpost where I was kept for 10 minutes and then released,” he said.
While the minister was speaking to the affected people, Naskar asked him why the chief minister has not yet visited the slum even after such a major fire.
Police sprang into action and took him away.
“I am a Trinamool (Congress) worker. I went there on behalf of the party as there was a party meeting in the area. Bobby (Hakim’s nickname) did not understand. But later he realised his mistake. It is true that he removed me from the spot. But it is also true that later it was he who was instrumental in my release,” said Naskar.
“This is our in-house (read intra-Trinamool Congress) affair. It has been resolved,” he added.
When contacted, South 24-Parganas police superintendent Pravin Tripathi told IANS: “He was not taken into custody. He did not belong to the area. When we asked him, he said he was from another area, Mollarhat. So he was taken to the police station and examined. His address was verified. And then he was released.”
A daily wage labourer, Shiladitya Choudhury in 2012 had to spend 14 days in jail after he questioned Banerjee in a public meeting in West Midnapore district.
He had said, “Farmers are dying because they have no money. Empty promises are not enough” and asked “What are you doing for the farmers?”
A visibly infuriated Banerjee immediately branded him a “Maoist”, following which Chowdhury was detained and taken for interrogation by the police. He was later arrested.