Kolkata: Ten personalities of West Bengal, including filmmaker Aparna Sen have written an open letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging her to resolve the agitation of para-teachers in the state in a democratic manner.
The letter sent by 'Citizen Speak India' referred to an alleged police lathicharge on and the arrest of para-teachers during their hunger strike at Kalyani in Nadia district on August 17 to press for hike in their salaries.
The filmmaker and the actors were among the 49 who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 24 in which they had voiced their concerns over an alleged rise in incidents of mob lynching across the country triggering questions on their silence during incidents of violence in West Bengal.
The other signatories of the letter to Banerjee, which was sent on Monday, were actors Parambrata Chatterjee, Kaushik Sen and his son Riddhi Sen, the youngest to have won the national award for the best actor.
The letter said, "We would like to draw your attention to some extremely violent incidents that have recently taken place in West Bengal.
"We have been noticing with a great deal of anxiety that instead of trying to resolve the peaceful democratic protests of teachers of this state through sane dialogue and debate, the administration has been resorting to undemocratic means of quashing these protests by the use of police brutality," the letter read.
Referring to the police action at Kalyani, it said, "We strongly condemn this attack by the police on educationists, and earnestly request you to resolve the issue in a democratic manner at the earliest," it said.
The letter also alleged that a member of 'Actors United', an organisation of theatre actors, was beaten up by unknown assailants at Dum Dum area of the city on August 15.
"We feel that such incidents are, in effect, an attack on all artistes propagating free thought and should be condemned with the same severity as any case of lynching anywhere else in India," it added.
Kaushik Sen said, "We condemn the incidents of violence in West Bengal. There should be free space for artistes and individuals to profess and espouse their views and thoughts. There should not be intimidation or coercion, anywhere in the country. We request the state administration to identify and punish the perpetrators as swiftly as possible," he said.
Apart from the four, activist Bolan Gangopadhyay, commentator and social worker Mudar Patherya and theatre personality Sohag Sen were among the signatories to the letter.