A day after a bust of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised during clashes between Trinamool (TMC) and BJP workers during a roadshow by Amit Shah, TMC leaders including party chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee changed their social media display picture to that of the noted reformer to register their protest.
The clashes between BJP and TMC student wing workers outside University of Calcutta’s College Street campus and Vidyasagar College on Bidhan Sarani left several injured. While the TMC student wing accused the BJP workers of hurling stones and bottles at them, the BJP said their workers were attacked and forced to retaliate. During the clash at the College Street campus, a bust of Pandit Vidyasagar was destroyed and BJP workers were seen hurling water bottles, one of which hit The Indian Express reporter on the head.
A war of words broke out between the two parties following the violence. Both of them have planned protest rallies today. Banerjee accused the BJP of fomenting trouble by bringing “outsiders” to the state and said she has “never seen such a shameful incident” in her life. “This year we are celebrating the 200th birth anniversary of Vidyasagar but irresponsible leaders from Delhi are destroying the heritage of Bengal. I will not keep quiet and I will not spare them,” she said.
Calling the incident “a black chapter in democracy”, Shah said: “TMC is resorting to violence to stop us.” He said the stone-pelting and arson was the handiwork of “anti-social elements” at the “behest of the TMC”. In a press conference today, Shah accused the TMC of inciting violence in Bengal. “There has been violence in Bengal in all the six phases of polls held till now. This shows that Trinamool Congress behind violence in West Bengal not BJP.”
A key figure of the Bengal Renaissance, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a philosopher, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer and philanthropist. Vidyasagar is credited for championing the cause of education and widow remarriage.