A bust of Jana Sangh leader Syama Prasad Mookerjee was damaged and blackened in South Kolkata this morning. Six people, including a woman, who claimed to be students of Jadavpur University and members of an ultra-Left group, have been arrested in this connection.
The incident took place around 8 am near Keoratolla crematorium. The accused used a hammer and a chisel to damage parts of the bust and then blackened it. They also chanted slogans against the razing of Lenin’s statue in Tripura. A poster signed ‘RADICAL’, which is the name of an ultra-Left student outfit, was placed next to the bust.
“Our chief minister has already said we will not tolerate vandalism of statues. It is a shameful act. We are happy that the miscreants have been arrested. Locals alerted the police. We will not allow such things to happen in Bengal. This is not in our culture. We condemn what happened in Tripura and we also condemn what happened here,” said Shovondeb Chatterjee, Trinamool Congress MLA, who visited the spot soon after.
An officer of the Kolkata Police said the accused are being interrogated.
BJP’s West Bengal unit has sought strong action against the culprits. “BJP West Bengal condemns barbaric act of vandalising statue of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh Bharat Keshri’s founder Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee at Keoratola Mohasoshan, Kolkata. We demand very strong action against culprits,” Sayantan Basu, general secretary, West Bengal BJP
The vandalism comes two days after a statue of Vladimir Lenin was razed in Tripura — following the end of a 25-year Left rule after they faced defeat by the BJP — and a day after a statue of Periyar was vandalised in Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, condemned the violence and expressed his ‘strong disapproval’.
“Incidents of toppling of statues have been reported from certain parts of the country. MHA has taken serious notes of such incidents of vandalism. PM also spoke to HM in this regard and has expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents,” a statement issued by the ministry said.