Two persons were held on Wednesday in connection with the defacement of a bust of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on August 14, according to police. The incident took place in Khairasol area of Birbhum, where the bust was to be inaugurated on Independence Day.
Police arrested Maida Bauri and Vinod Das, residents of Panchla village, and are questioning them. “We have arrested two and interrogation is on. We are yet to find a motive. The statue had been installed within the panchayat office premises, and the place is in a remote area. There is no CCTV, and the incident took place at night.
“Therefore, it is not easy to find eyewitnesses. Hopefully we will crack the case soon,” said N Sudheer Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Birbhum).
Speaking to mediapersons, BJP leader and Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Bose said: “It is a shameful and unfortunate incident. The government must take action. Miscreants are having a free run in Bengal. This is an act of sacrilege.”
The cement bust, made at a cost of Rs 1.36 lakh, was placed on a decorated podium inside the Khairasol panchayat office on August 14. Police said villagers had seen the bust intact till the evening that day. However, on the morning of August 15, villagers and panchayat members allegedly discovered that the bust had been defaced.
Dinabandhu Das, a group D staff member in the panchayat office, alerted police, sources said. As the news spread, irate locals protested and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits.
“We decided to celebrate Independence Day with a lot of fanfare, and the statue was put up as a part of it. We cannot imagine that people would do such a deed. Have asked police to find the anti-national people soon,” said Sonali Bakshi, panchayat pradhan. Police sources said they are not ruling out the possibility of sabotage by a group to create tension in the area.