Noted writer and human rights activist Mahasweta Devi, who had actively campaigned for Trinamool Congress before the West Bengal assembly elections, on Monday described the government as 'fascist' and alleged that it was trying to throttle people's voices.
"The people are denied of their legitimate right to protest and this is nothing but a fascist attitude. The government will have to withdraw the undemocratic diktat," Devi told a press conference, referring to the denial of permission by the government to hold a hunger strike and sit-in demonstration on November 23-24 in the city.
The press conference was organised by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and 21 other human rights organisations.
"What has not happened in the last 64 years in West Bengal happened today. The people were robbed of their natural right to protest," the Magsaysay Award winner said.
The hunger strike and sit-in were planned to demand the withdrawal of the joint forces from Maoist-hit Jangal Mahal and the release of political prisoners as promised by Trinamool Congress before coming to power.
Permission was initially given by the Kolkata police but was withdrawn later, citing "administrative" reasons.
Asked if her hopes of good governance were dashed, Devi said, "I have protested against the injustice of the Left regime. The entire country knows me as a rebel writer and for that I have received the Padma Bibhusan and the Magsaysay Award."
Asked if she has any sympathy for Maoists, she said, "I don't believe in the politics of violence and killing of people, but what the joint forces are doing is also not justifiable democratically."
She demanded that the joint forces be withdrawn first and government take the initiative for peace talks.
Some other intellectuals, who had stood solidly behind Mamata Banerjee in her bid to come to power in the state, have voiced their protest in a letter written to APDR.
They include singer and Trinamool MP Kabir Suman, filmmaker Aparna Sen, theatre personality Koushik Sen, writer Suchitra Bhattacharya and poet Sankha Ghosh.