KOLKATA: Case was lodged against a professor of the Calcutta University for allegedly threatening on social media to kill Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, police said on Saturday.
The case was registered against Arindam Bhattacharya, a professor of the Zoology Department, by the Hare Street police station on the basis of a complaint filed by PhD scholar Tamal Dutta, a senior police officer said.
Bhattacharya was booked under IPC sections 505 (1B) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public), 506 (threat be to cause death or grievous hurt) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), said Murlidhar Sharma, the joint commissioner of police (crime).
The professor is yet to be taken into custody, police said.
When contacted, Bhattacharya told PTI, “I didn’t make any comments against the chief minister. The complainant is a Trinamool Congress supporter. I am waiting for the police to take steps and only after that I will seek legal advice on this.”
During a conversation on Facebook Messenger, a friend told the professor, “Before the elections you had written in a WhatApp group that you wanted to kill the chief minister. That time you went to the TMC leader’s house to save yourself…” In reply, he wrote in Bengali, “Akhono hatya korte chai…Pa chata kutta ami noi… Ami oshikkhito birodhi (I still want to kill..I am not a footlicking dog. I am against those who are illiterate).”
Battacharya said it was a personal conversation between him and a friend which was made public on social media.
“This conversation happened sometime back. I have not threatened the chief minister or anyone and it is clear in the message,” he said.
Bhattacharya, a professor of Zoology for 17 years, said the police complaint was lodged against him as part of a conspiracy so that he loses his job.
“I am scared and tormented. I feel helpless and insulted. Never dreamt of facing such humiliation in my life. I can sense that this is a conspiracy against me so that I eventually lose my job,” he said.
Bhattacharya was served a notice to appear before the investigating officer on Saturday afternoon.
“I have nothing to do. Let the police arrest me. Let there be another Ambikesh Mahapatra,” he said.
In April 2012, Chemistry professor Ambikesh Mahapatra of Jadavpur University was arrested for allegedly forwarding a cartoon, lampooning the chief minister.
The TMC-backed West Bengal College and University Professors Association condemned Bhattacharya’s comments. Dutta, who lodged the police complaint, told PTI that a professor cannot make such remarks.
“I went through the comments and found them to be quite dangerous. A professor cannot make such comments. That is why I approached the police and after consulting them, I lodged a complaint with the Cyber Cell,” he said.