Jhargram: Siladitya Chowdhury, who was dubbed a Maoist by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and arrested after he asked her a question during a rally, was today denied bail by a local court.
The bail petition was moved by Chowdhury’s counsel Aswini Mondal at the Jhargram sub-divisional court which also asked for his case diary.
Chowdhury, who is in judicial custody for 14 days in Jhargram jail, was not present in the court.
The case will now be heard on August 24. Chowdhury had told the chief minister at her public meeting at the former Maoist stronghold of Belpahari on August 8 that farmers were dying and asked her what steps her government was taking since “empty promises were not enough”.
The chief minister had expressed surprise and dubbed the man a Maoist while asking the police to arrest him. Police had detained Chowdhury, a resident of Noawa village under Binpur police station, but let him go after questioning. He was rearrested on August 10 night from his home and produced in court the next day and remanded in 14 days judicial custody.
He was charged under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant in discharge of duty), 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant in discharging public duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 447 (criminal trespass) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
The incident has drawn flak for Banerjee. However, Trinamool Congress leader and Railway Minister Mukul Roy had said the man had not asked any question but was bent on disturbing the chief minister’s meeting and was drunk.
The man, he had alleged, had tried to disturb the meeting in Belpahari, which is the highest Maoist-prone area and broke the barricade in the Z-plus security zone. He had also pushed police officers and women and used threatening language.