The student, who had allegedly pulled Union minister Babul Supriyo’s hair during an agitation at Jadavpur University last Thursday, said on Monday that there is no question of him apologising as he was only trying to defend himself.
Debanjan Ballav, a student of Sanskrit College and member of Left wing United Democratic Student Front (UDSF), told reporters that it was Supriyo who had abused him when he wanted to speak about the NRC (National Register of Citizens) exercise in Assam. “He did not respond to the question and instead asked me if I knew the full form of NRC. As he continued to speak in a rude manner, I protested and in the melee, his security guards pushed me. Even he assaulted me. I had raised my hands to defend myself,” Debanjan claimed, adding that he had lost balance when he was pushed and might have touched the minister’s hair while trying to straighten himself.
“It was unintentional. The video, which went viral showing me pulling the Union minister’s hair, has been doctored by BJP’s IT cell to malign my image. The video made it appear as if I had lunged towards him,” he said.
“I have no regrets for my actions as I only tried to defend myself. There is no question of apologising to the central minister as I had not done anything wrong that day,” he said, adding his parents are being threatened.
Asked about his presence at JU on Thursday, Debanjan claimed he was there to attend a UDSF programme and joined the protest by its students in solidarity to “stop the entry of fascist forces in educational institutions”.
The student, however, did not comment on his ailing mother Rupali Ballav pleading forgiveness from Supriyo for the “misconduct” of her son. Supriyo, the BJP MP from Asansol, had assured the student’s ailing mother that no action will be taken against him.
Supriyo also refused to comment on the student’s statement. “I will comment whenever I feel the need for it. Everyone has the right to make statements. It is up to an individual to feel ashamed or not for his actions. I have nothing to say,” he told reporters. BJP leader Agnimitra Paul, who had accompanied Supriyo to JU, trashed Debanjan’s claims. “It is clear in the video that he deliberately pulled Babulda’s hair,” Paul told PTI.
On Saturday, Supriyo declared that he will not file any FIR against Debanjan and even tweeted to Debanjan’s ailing mother, who lives in Bardhaman town, that he will not harm the career of her son. The cancer-stricken mother had urged the Union minister on Friday to pardon her son as handing him over to the police would ruin his career.
Supriyo replied in a tweet on Saturday, “Dear auntie, dont worry. I will not take any action that will harm the career of your son…”
A UDSF spokesman said the students’ body will extend all legal help to Debanjan.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines