Kolkata, Jan 30 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday claimed that efforts were being made to muzzle freedom of speech and fuel hatred, and stressed the need to raise voices to "protect democracy".
The CM, after inaugurating the 46th International Kolkata Book Fair in Salt Lake, also said that she was hurt to see "some people are trying to spread negativity" in the country, and called for peace and unity.
"Bengal and its milestone events such as the annual book fair celebrate unity amid diversity and peace in the midst of shrill cry for war and aggression," she said.
The fair, to be held from January 31 to February 12 at Central Park Mela Ground, will see the participation of publishers and authors from across the world, with Spain as the theme country this year.
Banerjee, without making any reference or naming anyone, said, "I condemn this culture of spewing hatred. Having said that, I am not against anyone trying to air his views, but please be polite.
"Let us think about humanity… about the fundamental rights of people," she stated.
Quoting lines from Rabindranath Tagore's poem, 'Where the mind is without fear and head is held high', the CM said that Bengal always tries to live by the Nobel laureate’s words.
"We must raise our voice to protect democracy, if need be. We must be aware of any bid to subvert our original history. Let us be united. We want peace and prosperity. We want to fight against poverty," she added. PTI SUS RMS RMS