West Bengal professor alleges he was beaten after students refused to say ‘Mamata Banerjee zindabad’
The incident occurred in Hooghly district. The state chief of the ruling party’s student wing condemned the attackers and said an inquiry was under way.
A college professor was allegedly thrashed by supporters of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad in West Bengal’s Hooghly district on Wednesday after an argument between students over raising slogans praising Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, Hindustan Times reported.
Subrata Chatterjee, who teaches Bengali at Nabagram Hiralal Paul College in Konnagar, filed a complaint on Wednesday evening. Chatterjee said a group of postgraduate students had entered into an argument with undergraduate students, who were reportedly members of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad’s college unit, earlier in the day.
“After the teachers intervened, it was decided that both sides would apologise to each other and that the matter should end there,” Chatterjee said. “However, during the discussion, TMCP supporters demanded that the post-graduate students would have to shout ‘TMC zindabad’ and ‘Mamata Banerjee zindabad’. When some female students objected, TMCP supporters tried to thrash them and even hit a female student. When I tried to stand by these [female] students, they targeted me.”
Chatterjee said he sustained injuries to his face and on his head, reported News18. “The students’ union members always behave in an unruly manner but I can’t name them,” he said. “If I do so I will not be able to step into the campus.”
Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad’s state chief Trinankur Bhattacharya said he did not know if the students who attacked the teacher belonged to his organisation, according to News18. “I strongly condemn the act and we are inquiring into the matter,” Bhattacharya said. “The one who is at fault will definitely be punished.”
When asked about the claims that students were told to shout “Mamata Banerjee Zindabad”, Bhattacharya said the party does not support forcing any person to chant any slogan, reported Hindustan Times.
Shruti Nath Praharaj, general secretary of the Left-affiliated West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association, said colleges in Bengal had turned into “dens of anti-social elements”. “The administration needs to ensure exemplary punishment so that such offences are not repeated,” she added.
Pankaj Kumar Ray, principal of Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College and the convener of the intellectual cell of Bengal BJP unit, alleged the ruling party had no control over its students’ wing. “In fact, it is due to lack of control on its students’ wing that the government is not conducting the student union elections since 2016,” Ray said.