Following is the statement issued by artists, scholars and social activists, from New Delhi on February 24, 2012, on the developments in West Bengal:
LIKE most people in the country, we are deeply shocked to learn of the brutal murder of Pradip Tah, a former state legislator, and Kamal Gayen, another leader of CPI(M), in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal, carried out by a group of Trinamul Congress supporters. The murder took place when the two victims were leading a procession in support of the general strike by the nation's working class on February 28. We find it especially outrageous that Ms Mamata Banerjee, the state's chief minister, should have immediately come out to protect the murderers, so that there can be no credibility now left in the promised effort by the police to bring the culprits to book. It seems to be well in line with the chief minister's habit of denying tragedies like farmers' suicides or condoning offences like the recent shocking rape in Kolkata. She is obviously set on thwarting any expression of opposition or discontent against her misrule by open use of terror and falsification. We are, however, confident that the people of West Bengal will remain in the forefront in defending democratic rights despite all odds.
The signatories of the statement are Professor Irfan Habib, Professor Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Arjun Dev, Professor Indira Dev, Professor D N Jha, Professor C P Chandrasekhar, Professor Shireen Moosvi, Professor Iqtidar Alm Khan, Professor Ramesh Rawat, Professor Wasi Hyder, Professor Saira I Habib, Professor Atluri Murli, Dr Archana Prasad, Professor Shakti Kak, Professor Javeed Alam, Saeed Mirza, M K Raina, Madan Gopal Singh, Ram Rahman, Sohail Hashmi, Virendra Saini, Githa Hariharan, Teesta Setalvad, Dr P K Shukla, Professor Anil Bhatti, Professor J M Parakh, Dr Sanjeev Kumar, Dr Lata Singh, Professor Utsa Patnaik, Professor Jayati Ghosh, Ruchira Gupta, Rahul Verma, N K Sharma, Shamshad Husain, K Ashok Rao, Asad Zaidi, Manmohan, Rajesh Joshi, Chanchal Chauhan, M M P Singh, Vishnu Nagar, Sashi Kumar, Madhu Prasad, Badri Raina, Indira Chandrasekhar and Rajendra Prasad.