Rape threats to girls, vandalism of the 100-year-old Baker laboratory and the assault on professors and students in front of the police — the brazen attack on the august Presidency University by Trinamool Congress goons had Kolkata up in arms on Thursday.
As condemnation flowed in from all sides, the university authorities and students took the issue to governor MK Narayanan and held a protest march. “Those who attacked should be treated as criminals,” said the governor, who is also the chancellor of the university.
On Wednesday, as the state witnessed large-scale violence by Trinamool workers in protest against the manhandling of finance minister Amit Mitra in Delhi, a group of men carrying Trinamool flags had barged into the university. Armed with iron rods and a javelin, they broke furniture, tore posters, assaulted students and professors, threatened to rape girl students and wrecked the laboratory. The policemen posted in the campus remained mute spectators, the university authorities said.
“We are not going to take this lying down,” declared vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar, who has already filed a complaint with the police regarding the attack and the police inaction.
Later in the evening, a television channel aired a video showing Trinamool councillor Partha Bose as part of the crowd at the university gates. “I was not inside the campus and not part of the attack,” Bose said. “If anybody can show footage of my involvement I will resign as a councillor.”
“Instead of appearing before the media, the vice-chancellor should have complained to the chancellor and the police. This goes against the ethics of the university,” industry minister Partha Chatterjee said.
SEC to raise issue of violence in court
The State Election Commission may use Wednesday’s political violence in the state to bolster its argument in the high court in the case involving the panchayat elections.
The commission is locked in a legal battle with the state government over the state’s unilateral announcement of the panchayat poll dates and unwillingness to deploy Central paramilitary forces during the polls.