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Statue vandalism: Violent protests break out at Jadavpur University

The protests came a day after Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s statue was defaced in south Kolkata allegedly by seven students of Jadavpur University.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2018 21:03 IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Statue vandalism,Jadavpur University,Jadavpur
Restoration work in progress after Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s statue was vandalised in Kolkata.(Samir Jana/HT Photo)

A group of students allegedly beat up members of a right-wing Hindu outfit outside Kolkata’s Jadavpur University on Thursday evening.

The little-known Hindu group -- Bangali Hindu Astitwa Raksha Mancha -- had gathered to protest against the desecration of a statue of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee on Wednesday.

The protest was scheduled next to a statue of Russian communist icon Vladimir Lenin at 6.30 pm but members of various Left-leaning student organisations started gathering by the hundreds since afternoon. Though police was present at the spot, it couldn’t prevent the Hindu group members from being beaten up.

“We are looking into all aspects. The gathering of the mancha was without permission,” said a senior police official at the spot, which is right outside the university. No officer was willing to comment on the record. No member of the state government could be reached for a response.

The protests came a day after Mookerjee’s statue was defaced in south Kolkata allegedly by seven students of Jadavpur University. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has condemned the incident, which was the latest in a series of desecrations of statues across the country.

Busts of BR Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and EV Ramaswamy ‘Periyar’ have been attacked in the past three days. The violence began after a statue of Lenin was toppled in Tripura’s Belonia after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended the 25-year-long Left Front rule in the state.

The BJP criticised the university students.

“We are not involved with the Mancha but we condemn the attack on its members,” said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh. “We have said time and against that JU is a den of anti-national elements and Thursday’s attack proved it again,” Ghosh added.

On Wednesday, Hindutva outfit Hindu Samhati had supported the Mancha’s programme and asked Samhati members to attend it. “We came out of the programme. We were not present in Jadavpur,” said Hindu Samhati vice-president Devduttta Maji.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 20:58 IST