Kolkata: Amid a number of incidents of actresses and models getting harassed in Kolkata, celebrities feel the eastern metropolis is not “what one would call safe” and fear the situation might worsen over time. The latest incident of Bengali television actress Brishti Roy getting obscene calls asking about her “rate”, and escort service details after unscrupulous elements pasted posters all over Kolkata suburban trains and railway stations, with the actress’s name, mugshot and mobile number, has horrified citizens. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The traumatised actress told IANS: “Today this is happening to me, tomorrow it can happen to any other girl. It has become so easy to malign a girl these days. That’s why I will fight till the culprits are nabbed.” Over the past few months, a range of celebrities including former Miss India Universe Ushoshi Sengupta were attacked and harassed on the city streets. A group of bike-borne youths vandalised and beat up the driver of Sengupta’s cab after one of their two wheelers bumped with the car. The youths then followed her, pelted stones at the cab and tried to snatch her phone to delete the video she had taken of the incident. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Nearly a month later, a popular Bengali television actor Swastika Dutta had a harrowing experience. She alleged on Facebook that an app cab driver “pulled” her out of the vehicle, threatened and “abused” her when she was going for a shoot. A week back, a Bengali television actress Juhi Sengupta alleged that she along with her parents was harassed and heckled by employees of a petrol pump. Her father, a senior citizen, was even pushed by the employee during the altercation. The actress, known for her stint in TV serial “Bhojo Gobindo”, in her social media posts said “the city is no longer safe for anyone”. Popular film and television actress Anjana Basu agreed that celebrities and actresses were getting harassed in City of Joy. Underscoring the fear factor that haunts her, Basu conceded she doesn’t confront anyone nowadays even if someone crashes into her car consciously. “Yes, yes, I agree that celebrities and actresses do get harassed on the streets of Kolkata but I personally haven’t faced a situation as such. “I don’t like being on my toes all the time when I’m walking on the streets or am in my car but I have to. Even in incidents where someone crashes into my car consciously, neither I nor my driver confronts the individual due to safety reasons,” Basu, now on a trip to the US, told IANS. Basu, known for her acting skills which she has displayed in a wide variety of roles over the past one and a half decade, rued that “present day Kolkata is not exactly what one would call safe for celebrities and citizens in general”. “This is the current scenario of safety and security in the city of Kolkata and I fear that it will worsen over time,” added Basu, who has acted in Bengali films like “Bye Bye Bangkok”, “Byomkesh Fire Elo”, “Anghsumaner Chobi” and also in Hindi serial “Krishna kali” and film “Dum kata” – both directed by Amol Palekar. Another Bengali film actress Parno Mittra, best known for playing the title role in Anjan Dutt’s national award winning film “Ranjana Ami Ar Asbo Na”, said her concern was more for the ordinary people than the celebrities. “You see all this news is cropping up because we are celebrities. It is true that celebrities are being harassed. But if such things can happen to known faces, imagine what the common public is going through. “There are commoners who are probably facing these things, and being harassed. But we are not paying attention to it because they are not celebrities,” said Mittra, whose other notable films include “Bedroom”, “Ami Aar Amar Girlfriends”, “Maach Mishti More” and “Ekla Akash”. Mittra said she was “really scared” for her 24-year-old sister who commutes by public transport. “That is the main area of concern for citizens of West Bengal,” she told IANS. To a query whether the situation has now deteriorated in Kolkata, once considered one of the safest cities for women, she said: “Over the past ten years, it has not been that safe, sorry to say that.” Asked about the reasons for the present situation, she said: “You should ask the government why there is no security for women. In fact it’s just not about women, it is about males also. The other day, a male celebrity, some television actor, was harassed on the road.” Mittra said the remedy lay in government and administration taking strict measures to increase security for people. Mittra also recalled that the complaint of model-turned-actress Ushoshi Sengupta, wasn’t being taken by the police station initially. “My point is if people who are known faces are facing these issues, imagine what the commoners go through.” But Mittra said she did not foresee any problem for celebrities during next month’s Durga Puja festival. “During the puja, security is very tight on the streets of Kolkata, to be honest. Whenever we move out, we generally go for pandal judging and like that, then we have security with us,” she said.
OTTAWA — The Conservatives are asking the federal judicial affairs commissioner to investigate the leak of confidential information about former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s controversial choice for chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.Conservative justice critic Lisa Raitt has sent a letter to Marc Giroux arguing that the leak “strongly suggests” that “political actors” leaked information about an appointment to the country’s highest court.If so, Raitt says, it would be “an egregious case of political interference … that severely injures the independence of the judiciary.”Raitt’s letter comes two days after The Canadian Press and CTV reported that Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clashed over whom to appoint to the top court upon the retirement of Beverley McLachlin as chief justice in 2017.Sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss details of the normally confidential process, said Wilson-Raybould urged Trudeau to name Glenn Joyal, chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench, to fill both McLachlin’s spot on the bench as a justice from western Canada but also the chief justice role.They said Trudeau was disturbed to discover that Joyal took a restrictive view of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and had criticized the top court for liberally interpreting it to include “new rights” not explicitly mentioned in the charter; the court’s broad interpretation has led to things like legalization of same-sex marriage and the striking down of Canada’s abortion law and prohibition on medically assisted dying.Trudeau ultimately appointed Alberta judge Sheilah Martin to fill the western slot on the Supreme Court and elevated sitting Justice Robert Wagner to the role of chief justice.Wilson-Raybould said Monday there was “no conflict” with Trudeau on the matter but otherwise declined to comment, saying the selection process for Supreme Court justices is confidential and any disclosure “could compromise the integrity of the appointments process and potentially sitting justices.”However, on Wednesday, citing an anonymous source, the Globe and Mail reported that Wilson-Raybould recommended Joyal as part of a broader plan to appoint an Indigenous judge to the role of chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench — which would have been a first for a superior court in Canada. The newspaper also said Wilson-Raybould believed Joyal held a more liberal view on the charter of rights than Wagner, although the report cited evidence to the contrary.The Canadian Bar Association and the Manitoba Bar Association have also criticized the disclosure of information about the appointment process.The leaks suggest Trudeau may have had reasons unrelated to the SNC-Lavalin affair to move Wilson-Raybould out of the prestigious justice portfolio in a mid-January cabinet shuffle. She was moved to Veterans Affairs but resigned from cabinet a month later amid allegations that she had been improperly pressured last fall by the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene to stop a criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant.Wilson-Raybould has since said she believes the move was punishment for her refusal to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin. Such an agreement would have forced the company to pay stiff restitution but saved it from the risk of a criminal conviction, which could threaten the viability of the company.Raitt said Wednesday that the leaks about the Supreme Court appointment process are more proof of Trudeau’s disrespect for the rule of law.“The SNC-Lavalin affair has raised serious questions about the rule of law in Canada and the degree to which the Prime Minister’s Office has interfered in it,” she said.“This most recent episode of potential political interference from the PMO only further damages our democratic institutions and values and requires immediate attention.”Joan Bryden , The Canadian Press