West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Friday likened the tearing down of a gate in Visva-Bharati university by protestors last week to the destruction of Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2001. "Divisive forces" have not spared the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore, but most of West Bengal's intellectuals did not protest against the violence at Visva-Bharati and chose to remain non-committal, Ghosh alleged.
"Visva-Bharati's gate and boundary wall were pulled down in a Taliban-style attack. It is like the destruction atBamiyan in Afghanistan," he said. Thousands of local people, allegedly at the instigation of ruling Trinamool Congress leaders, on August 17tore down a gate of the central university to protest against the construction of a boundary wall by the institute around aground where 125-year-old Poush Mela used to be held every year.
The university had also decided not to hold the fair this year. Ancient sandstone statues of Buddha at Bamiyan were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 that created a furore acrossthe world.
The state BJP president claimed that those who were involved in the violence at Visva-Bharati are the same who vandalised Bengal Renaissance icon Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar'sbust in Kolkata before the Lok Sabha elections. A bust of the education and social reformer was destroyed in May last year during clashes between TMC and BJP activists when Amit Shah, who was president of the saffron party at that time, was holding a roadshow in the metropolis.
The two parties accused each other being responsible for the vandalism. Ghosh said that the dreams of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who had established the Visva-Bharati,have been shattered but no protest by intellectuals was seen.
"Perhaps their devotion to Rabindranath is only for show," he said at a webinar on Divisive forces in West Bengal. The intellectuals have written an open letter on the violence, "but it is not clear from it whether they are opposing the incidents that took place at Visva Bharati or not," Ghosh said.
The BJP has accused the Trinamool Congress of engineering the acts of vandalism at Visva-Bharati. Political violence has reached new heights in the state to prevent democratic movements by opposition parties,and leaders and workers are being implicated in false cases,Ghosh claimed.
Alleging that lockdown dates in the state were designed to prevent people from celebrating the "bhoomi pujan"for the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya or the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, he claimed that the Hindus were being deprived of their rights in West Bengal. The BJP MP said that while other states want to hold the NEET examinations as per schedule, the ruling party in West Bengal was opposing it.
"There are attempts to take West Bengal in a direction opposite to that being taken by the rest of the country.Attempts were being made to make people of West Bengal feelthat they are not part of the country, Ghosh claimed.
Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Rohingyas are being welcomed to the state, Prashant Kishor has been brought in from Bihar to strategise the poll campaign of Trinamool Congress, but the prime minister or the Union home minister or chief ministers of other states are not welcome here, he alleged. "People have to move the court to get permission for holding Durga puja in the state. Attempts are on to turn West Bengal into Western Bangladesh," Ghosh claimed.
Claiming that 1.5 crore people were made refugees during independence, he expressed apprehension that six crore Bengalis might become refugees again in their own country and take refuge in other states, "owing to attempts to divide the country again." "We should become active to prevent another such division," he said. RSS leader Jishnu Basu said that division of the country in 1947 had caused the death of 20 lakh people andlakhs of women and children suffered atrocities.
"Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had played a key role in keeping West Bengal within India," Basu said. He claimed that there has been a conspiracy to undermine the role of Mukherjee for the nation's integrity.
"Many decades after independence, Kolkata Port has been named after him as a tribute," he said.