In a vehement protest against the vandalisation of the bust of Iswarchandra
Vidyasagar in the Vidyasagar College Hostel during yesterday's BJP national president Amit Shah's
mega roadshow, the Left Front leaders on Wednesday hit the streets of the city, while 58 people were
arrested in connection with the TMC-BJP clashes.
Police lodged two separate FIRs and arrested 58 accused in relation to the violence in which three motor bikes were torched and scores of people sustained injuries.
The Left Front activists, led by party heavyweights Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Surjya Kanta Mishra, Biman Bose and Sujan Chakrabarty, took out the protest march from College Square to Hedua, the scene of yesterday's incident, and demanded proper inquiry to find out as to who was behind the incident.
Condemning the unsavoury incident, the leaders came down heavily on whoever orchestrated the vandalisation and said the real culprits must be brought to book.
The leaders also demanded a probe by the Election Commission to determine the culprits into the destruction of the statue.
They said such violence during the polling time was unbecoming of Bengal and this marked a gloomy picture of the state.
Yesterday, violence marred Mr Shah's mega roadshow as clashes broke out between the saffron party workers and students of the Calcutta University and Vidyasagar College after the latter protested the rally.
Ugly scenes were witnessed as furious BJP supporters confronted the agitating students and even threw stones and bottles at the University gates. Reports said clashes broke out after sticks were hurled at Amit Shah's truck.
Reports said stones were pelted with at Mr Shah's convoy from the college hostel on Bidhan Sarani.
Three bikes were torched in front of Vidyasagar College hostel. Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Even the bust of Vidyasagar in Vidyasagar College was also vandalised.
Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad workers raised anti-BJP slogans and showed Amit Shah black flags as the roadshow passed in front of the Calcutta University gates in the heart of the city. They also raised slogans of "Amit Shah go back". The protest irked BJP supporters who charged at the students, resulting in utter chaos and mayhem at the spot in presence of the police.
BJP workers also claimed that the Kolkata Police had helped the Calcutta University students breach the barricade - which was erected between the college premises and the street - and stage protests against Mr Shah and the BJP. Notably, Trinamool Congress' students' union wing has a strong presence in the students' body at the Calcutta University. BJP supporters gheraoed the building and returned the attack, according to the officials.
The BJP president lashed out at the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC Government over the removal of BJP posters. "Our posters were removed. They have also killed several of our workers so far. If she (Mamata Banerjee) thinks that she can stop the BJP by using violence, she should know that the more dirt she hurls at us the more the lotus will bloom," he said.
He further said, "TMC goons" had attacked his roadshow at two places - near the University of Calcutta on College Street and the Vidyasagar College hostel on Bidhan Sarani." Mr Shah also blamed the city police for allegedly misguiding his convoy as a result of which he failed to visit Swami Vivekananda's ancestral house at Simla Street to pay his respect.
Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee said,"Each vote against BJP will be revenge for the attack on Vidyasagar's statue. " She condemned the arson and attack at Vidyasagar College. 'Amit Shah had come to Kolkata for a rally today. He had brought in people from Rajasthan, UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. The moment the rally ended, BJP goons broke away and started a fire at Vidyasagar College, she stated.
"They damaged Vidyasagar's statue as well. This has never happened before. We will not leave them, we will give a fitting reply through votes," the TMC supremo commented. "We all know who is Vidyasagar, and to dishonour him like that is a disgrace, a shame! But they do not. Why did they do this? We feel ashamed, we seek forgiveness for what has happened. Why did the police give permission for the rally? " the chief minister asked. "If anyone insults Bengal's heritage, I will not spare them, " she averred.
Mr Shah, who is in Kolkata to canvass for party candidates in the last phase of the election this Sunday, also blamed the city police for allegedly misguiding his convoy as a result of which he failed to visit Swami Vivekananda's ancestral house at Simla Street to pay his respect.