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Attempts to vandalise Nehru’s statue in Bengal district

Tar was smeared on parts of the statue located in Katwa town in Burdwan district. A part was also chipped away.

kolkata Updated: Mar 17, 2018 15:28 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
On Saturday morning locals saw black tar on the statue located near the municipality office in Katwa town.
On Saturday morning locals saw black tar on the statue located near the municipality office in Katwa town. (HT Photo)

The virus of statue vandalism seemed to return to Bengal with residents in Katwa town in Bengal’s Burdwan district discovering attempts to vandalise a statue of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, on Saturday morning.

Tar was smeared on parts of the statue located near the Katwa Municipality about 150 km from Kolkata. A part of it was also chipped away.

Read: Statue vandalism: Ambedkar, Gandhi statues defaced

The act was the latest in a series of similar attacks on the statues of a number of Indian and foreign personalities that began with the demolition of two statues of the leader of Russian revolution, Vladimir Lenin, in Tripura on March 6 and 7 following the victory of the BJP in the assembly elections.

After the defacement was noticed on Saturday morning, the Katwa municipality lodged a complaint at Katwa police station against unidentified miscreants.

Incidentally, the plenary session of All Indian Congress Committee is being held on Saturday at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.

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

Though the Trinamool Congress-run Katwa Municipality did not name anyone in the complaint, the chairman of the civic body, Rabindranath Chatterjee, who is also a former Congress MLA from the area, alleged that BJP supporters were behind the act. Local BJP leader Krishna Ghosh, however, condemned the act and said, “There might be political differences, but none from our party would do such thing.”

“Whoever has committed it should be caught and punished. It’s a matter of great shame,” said Anil Sikaria, a West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee member. Congresss supporters held demonstrations in the town and submitted a memorandum to the local subdivisional officer demanding a probe and punishment for the culprits.

This month Bengal witnessed more than one act of statue vandalism.

Read: Statue vandalism: PM Modi condemns incidents, Amit Shah warns of stern action against those found guilty

On March 7, to protest the demolition of Lenin’s statue in Tripura, a group of ultra-Left students vandalised a bust of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee in south Kolkata. On March 8, BJP leaders got into a scuffle with ruling Trinamool Congress workers, who prevented the saffron supporters from going near Mookerjee’s statue that the BJP workers planned to purify with milk and Ganges water.

On March 10, a statue of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, a prominent poet-playwright of Bengal who converted to Christianity, was defaced in Raniganj town of West Burdwan district. Red ink was smeared on the statue of the poet who is famous for writing blank verse in Bengali.

Vandals struck in various states of India. Social reformer E V Ramaswamy’s (popularly known as Periyar) statue was attacked in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupattur on the night of March 6 and that of B R Ambedkar was defaced in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut on the same night.

M K Gandhi’s statue was vandalised on March 8 in Kannur, Kerala and Subhas Chandra Bose’s statue was defaced on March 9 in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

Bengal chief minister condemned the demolition of Lenin’s statue and the vandalism of prominent Indian leaders. Kolkata Police arrested seven students who damaged Mookerjee’s statue.