Kolkata: Eminent film director Kamaleshwar Mukherjee and senior CPI-M leaders including Rajya Sabha member Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya were arrested when they were holding street protests on Monday against the vandalisation of a bookstall put up by the Marxists outside a Durga puja marquee in South Kolkata.
The police claimed the arrests were made to avert trouble related to the bookstall and the protest meeting at the junction of Rashbehari Avenue and Pratapaditya Road here.
The CPI-M alleged that the stall peddling Marxist literature was vandalised on Sunday evening by “goons” backed by the Trinamool Congress, who were incensed over a poster reading “chor dhoro jail bhoro” (catch the thieves, put them in jail) adorning the outlet.
The CPI-M had convened the protest meeting on Monday calling for the reopening of the outlet.
Besides Mukherjee and Bhatacharya, prominent CPI-M leaders Kallol Majumdar and Rabin Deb were present at the meeting.
However, CPI-M leaders alleged that the “Trinamool-sponsored goons” attacked the stall yet again.
A police source said the CPI-M’s bid to reopen the stall triggered a clash with the local Durga puja committee. “The arrests were made to avert any further trouble”.
All those arrested were, however, released on Monnday night.
Trinamool Congress general secretary Kunal Ghosh said police has taken administrative action following the clash. “Why is it that the CPI-M has to open the stall during the Durga puja festival? They can open such outlets after the puja,” said Ghosh.
However, Mukherjee’s arrest provoked strong reaction among the film community, with director Srijit Mukherjee and actor Abir Chatterjee taking to social media to condemn the police action.
“Afraid of books???? Books??? Don’t have enough words of condemnation for the arrest of Dr Kamaleswar Mukherjee. With you, Kamalda, for whatever it is worth,” twitted Mukherjee.
“We love you Kamal Da & we are proud of you. With you,” Chatterjee posted on his twitter handle.