State Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi Monday said the “seeds of separatism” is rising once again in the country.
“If you see the history of different regions of this country, the seeds of separatism is rising once again….that is why Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee is still relevant today. Sometimes during my unofficial conversations, I express my concern. What will be the shape of West Bengal after 15-20 years? I have said it in a sentence. You understand the rest,” Tripathi said.
The Governor was speaking at a programme here to mark the 114th birthday of Bharatiya Jan Sangh founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
Tripathi said the tendency of cultural suppression and cultural attacks which the British had shown is now being shown by people from other states.
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“If this is not controlled now, the problem which Mookerjee faced in 1933 will come before this country once again,” he said.
When sought clarification over his remarks on separatism by reporters later, the Governor said: “I have said whatever I had to. It is up to you to interpret.”
During his speech, the Governor said he had written to the Prime Minister on the issue of declassification of files relating to the late freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose much before the matter was highlighted in the media.
“There are certain things which if suppressed can lead to rumours,” Tripathi said, adding that just like Netaji, it should be known whether Dr Mookerjee’s death was unnatural or not.
Mookerjee died on June 23, 1953 while he was behind bars in Kashmir protesting against the rule that stated that Indian citizens would require a permit to enter Kashmir.
“There must be same basis when the entire country was saying that he was killed. But the friendship between Jawaharlal Nehru (country’s first prime minister) and Sheikh Abdullah (third chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir) was so deep that no inquiry was ordered into Mookerjee’s death,” Tripathi said, adding that the family of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri thinks he (Shastri), too, was killed.
The Governor then said that there should be a proper memorial in the name of Dr Mookerjee, and wondered “why there isn’t a single university named after him”.
Born on July 6, 1901, Mookerjee became a fellow of the Senate in 1923. He became the world’s youngest Vice-Chancellor at Calcutta University and held the office until 1938.
Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, too, believes that Mookerjee had died under “questionable circumstances”.
“He laid down his life for the country and died in Kashmir under questionable circumstances. Nehru refused to order an inquiry into his death while two inquiries were ordered into Mahatma Gandhi’s death and three into the disappearance of Netaji,” he said.
Roy, a member of the BJP National Executive who is currently working on Mookerjee’s biography, said: “Mookerjee achieved a lot in his political career of 14 years. One of his greatest achievements was that he managed to snatch West Bengal out of the jaws of Jinnah who wanted the state to be a part of Pakistan.”
Among those present on the occasion on Monday were Governors Ram Naik (Uttar Pradesh) and Balram Das Tandon (Chhattisgarh) along with other dignitaries who also elaborated on the contributions of Mookerjee in nation-building.