Published: 15th May 2019
Vidyasagar statue row: Kolkata students call for apolitical protest after violent Amit Shah roadshow
An independent protest has been called by students from several institutes in Kolkata after the violence that took place during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah's roadshow in West Bengal on Tuesday evening took a disturbing and violent turn as BJP and Trinamool Congress (TMC) student wing workers got into an altercation. The clashes happened first in front of Calcutta University and then Vidyasagar College where the bust of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was also destroyed as the student wing workers started hurling bottles, bricks and stones at each other.
Following the violent attacks on educational institutions, students from Calcutta University, Vidyasagar College and from other institutions in the city have called for a non-violent, apolitical protest on Wednesday at 4 pm at College Square, adjacent to the main campus of the University of Calcutta.
A Facebook event for the protest was started by ex-student, Sudeshna Dutta Gupta from Calcutta University. Students who will take part in the protest have clearly mentioned to us that it is an apolitical gathering and that they just want to protest against, what they are calling 'saffron terrorism.' Their slogan says that 'we will never accept BJP to set foot on Bengal's soil'.
"We are conducting the protest to raise our demands for de-politicisation of educational institutes in the city and against the kind of violence and vandalism that took place yesterday. We don't feel safe here on our own college and university campuses. We are thus protesting independently without affiliation to any local or national political party. This is a students' protest as our institute has been attacked," said Sampurna Banerjee, who is pursuing her Masters in English from Calcutta University.
Other students told Edex that there are several other protest rallies being conducted on Wednesday by different political parties and students' organisations. "A protest is already ongoing at College street by the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) members. There is one that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is conducting at 11 am and another by All India Students' Association (AISA) in places near the university campus," an ex-student said, who wanted to remain anonymous.
The clashes outside University of Calcutta’s College Street campus and Vidyasagar College on Bidhan Sarani, which took place just five days before elections in the crucial Kolkata North seat, has left several injured.
BJP President Amit Shah during his roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday (Pic: PTI)
Later, during her visit to the University campus, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she will not tolerate this insult and that the BJP's goons have desecrated the statue of the person who empowered women and is a major proponent of Bengal's culture. She also said that she wants 'revenge' after the election results are out.
"The fight is not between the central and state governments. This is between the TMC government and the people of West Bengal," Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a TV channel in Chandigarh, in response to the incident.