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'Act of Terror': Students Narrate What Happened in Vidyasagar College During Amit Shah's Rally

On Tuesday, Vidyasagar College and Calcutta University College Street Campus turned into literal war zones for the TMC and BJP student wing workers who were embroiled in a scuffle during Amit Shah's roadshow on the streets of North Kolkata.

Jashodhara Mukherjee | News18.com

Updated:May 16, 2019, 9:03 AM IST
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'Act of Terror': Students Narrate What Happened in Vidyasagar College During Amit Shah's Rally
On Tuesday, Vidyasagar College and Calcutta University College Street Campus turned into literal war zones for the TMC and BJP student wing workers who were embroiled in a scuffle during Amit Shah's roadshow on the streets of North Kolkata.
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Sampurna Banerjee, a first-year student of Calcutta University, was present in the campus when the clash between TMC and BJP student wing workers broke out. Talking to News18, she said, "I speak completely apolitically, yet I am furious at this attack on students. On educational institutions. I speak as a student. And all of us are angry."

Members of the student union, which is largely dominated by the TMC, had flocked to the front gate of Calcutta University to raise their voice against Amit Shah. She also said that there were no outsiders partaking in the protest and that all students belonged to Calcutta University.

Arit Mazumdar, a former member of TMCP and an ex-student of Calcutta University said, "I have never seen such political violence in Kolkata. There was Congress and CPI(M) prior to the present TMC government, none had cruel intentions towards educational institutions. Smashing Vidyasagar’s bust in Vidyasagar College is just an act of terror that needs to be eradicated."

On Tuesday, Vidyasagar College and Calcutta University College Street Campus turned into literal war zones for the TMC and BJP student wing workers who were embroiled in a scuffle during Amit Shah's roadshow on the streets of North Kolkata.

When Shah's rally reached College Street, student workers belonging to the TMC greeted the BJP activists with slogans which included "Amit Shah, go back" or "Chowkidar chor hai."

In retaliation, TMC student activists showed and hurled black flags during Amit Shah's procession, from behind the gates of Calcutta University, which further added fuel to fire. BJP supporters then allegedly ransacked Vidyasagar College, leading to the destruction of the iconic bust of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar.

Allegedly, a decorated truck carrying BJP supporters broke into Vidyasagar College and smashed the glass case where the bust for Vidyasagar, a beacon of 'Renaissance for Bengalis', had been kept for over twenty years.

Anurag Mazumder, a former student of Calcutta University and M.Phil research scholar, commented on the issue and said, "I find it to be a political hooliganism. I am appalled at how much brawn BJP could show, without even being in power in Bengal. A fire alit within college premises is unthinkable, breaking Vidyasagar's bust is shameful."

Initially, a police barricade had been protecting the students who were carrying out a protest against Amit Shah's procession. However, this angered the BJP workers who broke past the barricade; an exchange of stones, metal rods and bottles followed which further provoked violence and ensuing arson.

Manishankar Mondal, vice-president of TMCP, said that "BJP goons went on a rampage inside Calcutta University and also threatened to break down the statue of Rabindranath Tagore inside the campus." Mondal also claimed that the student workers also called Rabindranath Tagore a 'Muslim'.

The event sparked outrage on social media with several people accusing the BJP of trying to exert their power and condemning them for the violence that took College Street by storm yesterday. However, Poulami Ghosh, a former student of Calcutta University, had a different perspective on the event. She feels that whenever such events occur, there is a tendency to easily get influenced by the dominant public opinion; in this case, the dominant opinion in Bengal is that BJP is to blame for the whole fiasco.

Yet, she says, "BJP needs support and TMCP needs to hold on to their old dominant self in Bengal. So a roadshow by Amit Shah could be a threat or not. But a party seeking support and a party already ruling is often expected to clash. But why Calcutta university? Why Vidya Sagar College?" She feels that "no particular party is responsible for the clash yesterday because the TMCP was trying to retain its authority while the BJP was trying to gain support. Why blame a particular party seeking support?"

She adds that taking a polarized stance to the situation is not the solution, but the root cause of the problem. "Whether it is BJP or TMCP, both were equally responsible for the act."

The students will be holding a protest at College Square on Wednesday.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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