The Trinamool Congress in West Bengal finds itself on the receiving end of public backlash after a group of miscreants led by the party’s MLA Naresh Bauri demolished the gate of Visva Bharati on Monday. The Visva Bharati is an institution which was established by Rabindranath Tagore himself and is looked upon as a symbol of Bengali culture, hence the violent assault on it has not gone down well with local populace of the state.
Recently, a dispute erupted in Santiniketan after Visva Bharati University began construction of a fencing around the ground where annual “poush fair” is held, in order to prevent infiltration from outsiders and encroachment of the institution’s property. Several locals including traders who set up stalls inside the ground during the fair opposed the move and even attempted to stall the construction. But on Monday, the dispute took an ugly turn when a mob of 200 strong men attacked the university with a JCB machine.
The mob went on a rampage inside the University campus for over an hour. Not only did they destroy the under construction fencing but also brought down the decorative entrance of the varsity. The construction workers were attacked and the arrangements made for their stay inside the campus were destroyed.
In several videos which surfaced after the violence, locals TMC MLA Naresh Bauri was seen leading the mob. Apart from him, former TMC councilor Umar Sheikh and local party leader Gagan Sarkar were also spotted in the crowd.
Mamata Banerjee’s MLA Naresh Bauri incited and lead a mob that vandalised the iconic Viswa Bharati campus. This is a body blow to the rich culture and heritage of West Bengal. If the abode of Tagore is not secure, one wonders what ordinary citizens have to endure…
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) August 18, 2020
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reacted strongly on the issue. Criticising the violence, Anirban Ganguly, the director of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation and member of BJP policy department, tweeted: “Vandalisation of Visva Bharati by TMC MLAs & goons with full support of Mamata Banerjee is an assault on the Soul of Bengal. It is a desecration of RabindranathTagore’s legacy & ideals.”
It is a desecration of #RabindranathTagore's legacy & ideals
Dist administration remained mute
Such acts are reprehensible & will not be tolerated pic.twitter.com/WsHvpn6qXe
— Dr. Anirban Ganguly (@anirbanganguly) August 19, 2020
Earlier on Tuesday, in a letter directed to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar came down heavily on the vandals and criticised the administration’s failure in protecting the institution.
He termed the incident “unprecedented vandalism” much like “organised crime” that was “premeditated and conspiratorial”, committed with “no fear of the police”.
“Every society draws a red line between the right and wrong: a wrong must be recognised, punished and seen that it does not recur,” he added.
The entire dispute surrounding the fencing however is far from over. CM Mamata Banerjee has already voiced her support in favour of those opposing the fencing but the institution also seem to be committed on protecting their property. Now, as per sources, authorities of Visva Bharati have sought intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the Chancellor for the University. Meanwhile, police has nabbed several from the mob which vandalised the institution. But the accused TMC leaders are still roaming free.