A plaque with Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s name inscribed on it was found smeared with black ink on Monday morning in Presidency University’s College Street campus. University authorities informed the police of the matter, following which officers from the central division of Kolkata Police visited the campus.
“We are very upset by this incident. It is a shameful thing to do. I cannot believe that it is the handiwork of our students. We will take steps to find out who is responsible for such an incident,” university Vice-Chancellor Anuradha Lohia told reporters.
Later, Registrar Debojyoti Konar told reporters that a five-member committee would investigate the matter. The committee would comprise of the dean of students and other senior university officials, he added, according to PTI.
Mookerjee’s name, as well as those of other noted alumni, had been inscribed on various plaques during last year’s renovation on campus, which was undertaken to celebrate the 200th year of the institute. He had graduated from the college with a first class first in English in 1922, according to PTI. Condemning the incident, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee asked university authorities to take action against the culprits.
“We strongly condemn such an act. The university has to look into this. It has to identify the persons responsible for such an act and punish them accordingly,” Chatterjee told reporters.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh too condemned the incident and said it was done by Left-minded people.
“We know who has done this. It is the handiwork of those who continuously speak of revolution. This institute along with another are only breeding grounds of such people. All we can say that they are indulging in such acts out of frustration,” he said.
The Presidency University students’ body also released a statement, saying it does not “support such a deed and strongly condemns such an act”. In the statement, it also listed recent incidents of defacement of statues by “the BJP-RSS”, but added: “However it (the union) does not believe in ‘an eye for an eye’ method to combat such fanaticism. IC does not hold up the politics preached by Shyamaprasad owing to its discriminating and communal nature. His political methods find no place in Presidency as well as Bengal as a whole. However, opposing his ideologies by spreading black ink over his name is not a solution at all. The ideological battle is the only sane way to combat against fascism.”
The institution’s SFI unit, the CPM’s students wing, condemned the incident. It said in a statement that such acts went against the tradition of the institution, PTI reported.
Earlier this month, seven members of ultra-Left group Radical were arrested for defacing and blackening a bust of Syama Prasad Mookerjee at Keoratala Crematorium. They were protesting against the pulling down of the statue of Vladimir Lenin in Tripura.