Mamata condemns attack on Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s bust in Kolkata, says statue vandalism not the culture of Bengal

The West Bengal chief minister says those arrested over the incident will be dealt with sternly

india Updated: Mar 08, 2018 16:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Statue vandalism,Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s bust,Syama Prasad Mookerjee
This was the first time West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee commented on the incident that has become one of the talking points in the country since Wednesday morning. (PTI File Photo)

A day after a group of ultra-Left students vandalised a statue of BJP ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee in Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the act and said it is not the culture of Bengal.

Statues of political figures were attacked in several parts of the country since the demolition of a statue of Communist icon Vladimir Lenin in Tripura on Monday.

Lashing out at the new BJP dispensation in Tripura for the demolition, Banerjee said she had no knowledge about anyone being arrested in the northeastern state for the vandalism, but Kolkata police promptly arrested those attacked the statue of Jan Sangh founder on Wednesday.

“Police have arrested them promptly in Bengal. They will be dealt with sternly,” said the chief minister at a party programme on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

This was the first time she commented on the incident that became one of the talking points in the country since Wednesday morning, when seven supporters of the Radical, an ultra-Left student outfit in Jadavpur University, descended on Mookerjee’s statue breaking its right ear and eye. A student also smeared black ink on its face.

“Some may support Lenin, some may support Ho Chi Minh, some may support Karl Marx, some may support Syama Prasad Mookerjee. One may not agree with them, but why should anyone show disrespect to them,” said Mamata Banerjee.

She also criticised the Radical saying their action was giving the state a bad name.

In 1951, Mookerjee founded the Jan Sangh that was the precursor of the BJP.

Kolkata Police arrested seven students including a woman for the vandalism. A court sent them to jail custody for two days.

Incidentally, as the chief minister spoke, there was a scuffle between ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP supporters, who gathered near Keoratala crematorium to wash the statue with milk to purify it. Police detained a few BJP supporters.

Speaking at the rally on International Women’s Day, the chief minister exhorted her party’s women supporters to prevent BJP’s growth in the state. “You should erect such a wall that their attacks are thwarted. The BJP should not get a single vote,” she said at the rally at Rani Rashmoni Road in central Kolkata.

“It’s good that you ( BJP) have won Tripura. Now work for the people, but don’t make a big song and dance about it,” she remarked.

“Can’t you hear the voices of people in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka? Wasn’t TDP, Shiv Sena your partners?” said Banerjee. She was alluding to recent reverses the saffron party faced in byelections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and BJP’s tumultuous relations with the two allies.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 16:19 IST