Jan Sangh founder’s name sprayed with black on wall at Presidency University
Jan Sangh founder and one of the tallest ideologues of the saffron camp Syama Prasad Mookerjee once again became the target of vandals in West Bengal after his name was sprayed with black on a wall at Presidency University in Kolkata.
Students found Mookerjee’s name sprayed with black colour on a wall of fame, inscribed in Bengali along with those of the institution’s prominent alumni, after the university reopened on Monday morning.
The authorities called the police after the act was discovered and Kolkata Police’s deputy commissioner (central) along with senior officials went to the institution and held meetings with university officials. Culprits in Presidency University could not be identified till Monday afternoon.
“We are upset. It’s a shame. No student and, in fact, no educated person can indulge in such acts. We will deal with it sternly and try to see to it that appropriate punishment is meted out to the guilty,” Presidency University’s vice chancellor Anuradha Lohia said while speaking to the media.
The authorities have set up a five-member committee to probe the incident.
The names of more than 100 former students such as Swami Vivekananda, economist Amartya Sen, scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, statistician PC Mahalanobis, former Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, historians Rajat Kanta Ray, Ranjit Guha, Dipesh Chakrabarty, filmmaker Aparna Sen, writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen, and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee among others were inscribed on the wall on the occasion of its bicentenary in 2017.
This was the second instance of vandals attacking the Jan Sangh founder in the city. A group of ultra-Left students vandalised his bust in south Kolkata on March 7 to protest the demolition of a statue of the leader of the Russian revolution, Vladimir Lenin, in Tripura following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the assembly elections.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had condemned the vandalism of Mookerjee’s statue and said her government would not tolerate such incidents.
Presidency students said the area where the defacement took place was not under the coverage of closed-circuit television or CCTV cameras.
“I don’t think there is any basic difference between those who demolished Lenin’s statue in Tripura and those who sprayed ink on Mookerjee’s name in our college. An eye for an eye cannot be a response to anything,” Ishani Roy, a second-year political science student at the college, said.
West Bengal has witnessed more acts of vandalism in the past few days.
Residents of Katwa town in Burdwan district found tar smeared on a statue of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, on March 17. A statue of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, a prominent poet-playwright of Bengal who converted to Christianity, was defaced on March 10 in Raniganj town of West Burdwan district.
Statues of political figures -- E V Ramaswamy or Periyar, BR Ambedkar, MK Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose -- have been attacked this month in several parts of the country since the statue of Communist icon Lenin was razed in Tripura.