Bharatiya Janata Party West Bengal unit President Dilip Ghosh on Friday claimed the Jadavpur University campus had become a hub of anti-nationals and communists so a surgical strike would be conducted to destroy it. Ghosh’s remark came after the saffron party organised a rally in Kolkata to protest against the alleged assault on Union minister Babul Supriyo at the university on Thursday.
“They are like the terrorists whose camps we destroyed in Pakistan [during Balakot strikes],” Ghosh said. “We will destroy these groups inside the university as well.”
The minister claimed that he was heckled when he visited the university campus to address a seminar organised by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Senior BJP leaders, including Sayantan Basu and Raju Banerjee, attended the rally from the party’s state headquarters in central Kolkata. “Leftist mercenaries of Jadavpur University should be beaten up black and blue,” Basu said. “This attack that took place yesterday was a joint effort by CPI(M) [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] and TMC [Trinamool Congress].”
Supriyo said his attackers were “cowards and hooligans” who would be found and “mentally rehabilitated”. “These cowards will not be allowed to malign and tarnish the image of Jadavpur University,” tweeted the Union minister. “You shall be found out by us soon but don’t worry, you shall not be treated in the manner you treated me. We shall rehabilitate you mentally so that you and your hooligan friends [all footages available with the media] behave like you are supposed to behave as students .. till then.”
The BJP leader also shared pictures of students who allegedly attacked him and said it remained to be seen what action West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would take against them. Supriyo also claimed that he had tried to reason with the agitating students.
The Raj Bhavan also issued a statement on the matter and said Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s visit to the university on Thursday put an “end to an unwholesome situation”. Dhankar entered the campus to escort out Supriyo after the minister claimed he was not being allowed to leave. Students, however, protested in front of the governor as well.
“His [Dhankar] visit was rendered imperative as the vice chancellor and the pro-vice chancellor had left the University while the Union minister Shri Babool Supriyo continued to be detained by the agitating students/persons there,” the Raj Bhavan statement read. “In his capacity as chancellor, being guardian of the students, he took the call so as to connect with the students in the interest of education and institution.”
The governor’s office said he had apprised Banerjee of the situation at the university. The Raj Bhavan said it was unfortunate that Trinamool Congress General Secretary Subrata Bakshi claimed that Dhankar did not inform the state government about his visit.
“The issue of serious lapses by the University VC [vice chancellor], including virtual abandonment of his obligations, and apparent failure of the state police administration in attending to the situations appropriately and inadequate security arrangements for the governor/chancellor during his visit are receiving his attention for way forward steps,” the statement added.
Ghosh also backed West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar’s decision to reach the campus to escort Supriyo. “The state government was sitting idle and was waiting for Supriyo to get killed,” he said.
Supriyo was stopped from entering the campus for close to an hour-and-a-half by members of the Left-leaning Students’ Federation of India and the Arts Faculty Students’ Union. The protestors also raised slogans such as “Babul Supriyo go back” and waved black flags. The minister alleged that the protestors pulled his hair and attempted to provoke him by by openly calling themselves Maoists.
Meanwhile, a group of prominent personalities in the state, including director Aparna Sen, on Friday voiced their concerns over the violence at Jadavpur University. “The protesting students should also have behaved in a restrained manner keeping in mind the restive atmosphere in the entire country,” a statement signed by 15 personalities said, according to PTI. “Students should not be treated as hardened criminals in a healthy environment.”
They also called for an investigation into the incident and punishment of those guilty. The signatories also urged political leaders not to do anything that would disrupt the academic atmosphere of the varsity. The public intellectuals, who came together under the banner of ‘Citizenspeak India’, said they were shocked and scared after the incident where some objects were set on fire.
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