KOLKATA: Intellectuals, artists and writers Sunday denounced the house arrest of five human rights activists in connection with a probe into a case of caste violence in Maharashtra, and described it as an "act of fascism" by the BJP government.
Calling for a platform of "artists, writers and conscious citizens", writer-columnist Debesh Roy said there should be protests everywhere against "the fascist regime that orders raids at anyone's residence for voicing dissent".
"They (the BJP) have branded the activists 'Urban Maoists', a term imported from the US Constitution.
We need to counter them with a full-fledged movement, not tokenism.
I call upon the theatre personalities of Bengal to bring back their popular anti-fascist plays on stage to mobilise opinion," the Left intellectual said.
All "anti-fascist forces", espousing the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, should join hands in the movement, Roy added.
Theatre personality Rudraprasad Sengupta said a "reign of terror is prevailing on the land".
Decrying the arrests of the five eminent personalities, he said, "It as an infringement on civil liberties.
We have to keep ourselves ready to fight fascism."
Actor Kaushik Sen, who was also a part of the intellectual meet at Shishir Mancha here, said artists should come together to voice their opinion on topical issues.
"...We (intellectuals) need to sit together and chalk out our next action. This is imperative to make ourselves more acceptable and our tirade against communal and fascist forces more credible to the masses," he said.
The two-hour meet here passed a resolution against the alleged attempts to "take away the rights of protest by civil societies".
Around 200 people have signed the resolution, including eminent personalities such as writer Mandakranta Sen and poet Shankha Ghosh, Chandan sen, one of the organizers of the meet, said.
Five Left-wing activists were picked up Tuesday by the Maharashtra Police from different locations for their alleged Maoists links.
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune on December 31 last year.
The Supreme Court ordered that the five activists be kept under house arrest till September 6 under police watch.