BJP supporters arrested for attacking student seen pulling Babul Supriyo’s hair
A district court in Bengal’s East Burdwan sent nine people, all supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to 14 days’ judicial custody for allegedly assaulting Debanjan Ballabh Chatterjee, a student who was seen pulling the hair of Union minister Babul Supriyo at Jadavpur University campus. The minister was allegedly not allowed to leave the campus by agitating students for a few hours on September 19.
“On Thursday, they were sent to police custody for 14 days. They had assaulted Debanjan Ballabh, who filed a complaint alleging assault on Wednesday evening. We identified the assaulters with the help of CCTV footage,” said Pintu Saha, inspector-in-charge of Burdwan police station.
“They were booked for assault, among other things,” added Saha.
According to the police officer, those arrested are residents of Nilpur Kanai Natshal area of Burdwan.
In his complaint, Ballabh alleged that he and a friend of his, a woman, was beaten up by supporters of the BJP at Alisha bus stand in Burdwan, from where they were to catch a bus to Kolkata. He also alleged that those who beat him up said that he must pay for what he had done to Babul Supriyo.
A second-year student of linguistics in Kolkata’s Sanskrit College, Debanjan Ballabh hails from Raina in East Burdwan, about 95 km from Kolkata. He had come to Burdwan to visit his parents.
Reacting to the arrest, Sandip Nandi, the BJP organisational district president of Burdwan, said, “The police arrested our men on false charges. It is ironical that the police fail to provide security to a Union minister and do not take steps after he is heckled for hours. But they can provide security to a youth, who is a Left supporter, and had manhandled the minister.”
However, Uttam Sengupta, general secretary of the ruling Trinamool Congress of East Burdwan district, defended the police action and said the cops acted according to the law. “If anyone is beaten up, police should arrest them,” Sengupta said.
After the incident on Jadavpur campus, Babul Supriyo posted a photograph of Debanjan Ballabh on social media where the latter was seen pulling the minister’s hair.
On September 20, the student issued a statement saying that he was being constantly threatened by supporters of the BJP and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. His mother Rupali Ballabh, a cancer patient, made a tearful appeal on video pleading that her son be pardoned.
On September 21, addressing Rupali Ballabh as aunty, Supriyo wrote on social media, “Please don’t worry, aunty. I would not harm your son in any way. I just want that he takes lessons from his misdeed. I have not lodged any police complaint against anybody, nor did I allow anyone to do so. Shed your worries and get well soon. Take my pronaam.”
The panic in the student’s family heightened after senior state BJP leaders such as Dilip Ghosh and general secretary Sayatantan Basu said in public that their supporters would get even with those who assaulted the minister.
Incidentally, the manhandling of Babul Supriyo resulted in an unprecedented situation where governor Jagdeep Dhankhar rushed to the campus to rescue the minister from the agitating students after vice chancellor Suranjan Das told the governor that he would prefer resigning than calling police on the campus.