Vandalism at Presidency College today saw Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) trading charges over the incident even as West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan asserted that those those behind it should be treated like criminals.
The violence against students in which many were beaten mercilessly and some injured critically has been condemned widely. To this was added further outrage at the widespread molestation of girls. TMC cadres allegedly chased girls across the campus molested them and threatened to rape them.
The Trinamool Congress,which denied its involvement in yesterday’s trouble,today found itself on the backfoot with video footage aired by television channels showing a Trinamool Councillor,along with two other party activists,leading the protests outside the prestigious college.
“Those who ransacked (the university departments) should be treated like criminals,” Narayanan,also the Chancellor of the University,told reporters here.
TMC councillor Partha Basu who was in the thick of the controversy for allegedly having led the perpetrators,denied a hand in the vandalism.
“We were protesting the attack on the chief minister and finance minister. We were near the gate of the university. One of our senior leaders was hurt by a brickbat. We went to the medical college where he received four stitches.
“I don’t know what happened as we did not go inside the university. I will resign from the councillor’s post if it is found we went inside the university,” he said.
Countering him,Vice-Chancellor of the university Malabika Sarkar said “What happened yesterday was shocking. I will write (to Governor) that the attackers carried TMC flags and ransacked and vandalised various departments of the university.”
Sarkar,who took part in a protest march with students,faculty and alumni of the university during the day appealed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ensure an investigation to identify the attackers and said hooligans had beaten up students and made obscene remarks against girl students.
“We are not going to take the incident lying down. The incident has shown that Presidency was taken as a soft target. We cannot accept this,” she said.
Accusing the Trinamool,CPI-M leader Mohd Salim said from the Vice Chancellor to the students everyone was saying it was Trinamool which was behind the vandalism. He said the police remained silent spectators because they knew TMC leaders were present. “Trinamool has also not uttered a single word of condemnation so far,” he said.
University Registrar,Prabir Dasgupta,who led a student delegation to the governor,said,”We demand proper security within the Presidency campus. We also demand a proper inquiry so that the guilty are punished.”
Taking serious note,the West Bengal Human Rights Commission asked the city police commissioner to investigate and submit a report within two weeks.
“The Commission has expressed serious concern over the incident. It has asked the police commissioner to conduct an inquiry by an officer not under the rank of special commissoner or additional commissioner and the report must be submitted within two weeks with his comments on it,” Joint secretary,WBHRC Sujay Haldar said.
The commission also constituted a special team with former principal of the Presidency Amal Mukhopadhyay to probe the matter and submit report within two weeks,he said.
Joint Commissioner of Police Javed Shamim said that the incident was being looked into,but no arrest has been made so far.
TMC workers also took out a march here to protest the attack on the chief minister and finance minister in Delhi.
Noted litterateur Mahasweta Devi criticised the incident in Delhi,saying “It is very unfortunate. This only impairs the state’s image.”