Scientist says people in Bengal living in dark days

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Molecular biologist Partha Sarathi Roy, arrested during an anti-eviction movement earlier this month and released on bail, today said that people in West Bengal were 'living in dark days'.

"Incidents like my arrest and that of Jadavpore University professor Ambikesh Mohapatra in a cartoon case and the eviction of people at Nonadanga, show that we are living in dark days in West Bengal," Roy told a press conference at the Kolkata Press Club.

"These signs are ominous. I am concerned with democracy in Bengal," he said. Stating that he was falsely implicated, Roy said said he was arrested from Nonadanga on April eight from near a hospital and taken to the police headquarters at Lalbazar along with 68 others.

He claimed that he was charged with being at Nonadanga on April four when hundreds of slum-dwellers were evicted by the police though he was 70 km away on the day attending a faculty meeting of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Kalyani in Nadia district where he is an assistant professor.

Stating that he was present on April 8 at a rally in Nonadanga from where he was picked up, he expressed sympathy for the slum dwellers.

"I felt it was my duty to go to Nonadanga. I will always be with the oppressed. What I teach my students, I practice."

"I have sympathy for them and will join such a demonstration given an opportunity" He said.

Mamata on Time magazine list

Meanwhile, Time magazine has listed Banerjee as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in its list for 2012, sharing space with the likes of US President Barack Obama and billionaire investor Warren Buffet.

The magazine has described the people in the list as 'who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world'.

The list is topped by American basketball player Jeremy Shu-How Lin who plays for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

"Mamata Banerjee rose to the fore last year when she and a movement she built from the grassroots wrested control of her home state of West Bengal, ending three and a half decades of sclerotic communist rule.

"Banerjee, 57, spent years struggling on the margins, her Trinamool Congress Party a feisty rabble compared with the leviathan of West Bengal's communists," said the magazine about the leader.

Dedicates honour to 'Ma, Mati, Manush'

Banerjee said the Time magazine article is a recognition for 'Ma, Mati, Manush'.

"I am happy. I dedicate this honour to world peace and to 'Ma, Mati, Manush (mother, land and people) of Bengal," Banerjee told reporters here.

"Whatever I have received in life, all have been given by the people. The credit goes to the people of Bengal.

"I have dedicated my life to the cause of the common people. I am a small person, but people love me and have brought me to this position," she said.

Noting that she came from a humble family background, she said she believed in simple living and in serving the people. The chief minister, who has been criticised on a number of issues, also said that there were some people who 'always conspired'.

"But their number is not even 0.1 per cent. Some criticise without understanding. What should I say about them?"

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