Kolkata: A bust of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee was vandalised on Wednesday in south Kolkata by seven persons, including a woman, allegedly belonging to a left-wing group, “Radical", the police said.
The accused, who were arrested from the spot, told a TV channel that they defaced and vandalised Mookerjee’s bust to protest against the pulling down of communist icon Lenin’s statues in Tripura. They also raised slogans against the Tripura incidents, the police said.
“Six men and one woman, in their early 20s, who tried to deface the bust of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, have been arrested from the spot by Kolkata Police and strong legal action (has been) initiated," city police commissioner Rajiv Kumar said in a statement.
“No vandalism would be tolerated," he added. A senior officer of the Tollygunge police station said the accused entered the area and raised slogans against the pulling down of Lenin’s statues in Tripura. Then, they suddenly started damaging the bust and splattered black ink on it. The locals caught hold of the accused and informed the police. The police said the seven accused were members of a left-wing group called “Radical".
A poster was also found from the spot with the word “Radicals" written on it, they added. “A portion on the right side of the bust, including the right ear, eye and cheek, was damaged," the officer of the Tollygunge police station said.
The restoration work of the bust was initiated, he said, adding that adequate police personnel were deployed in the area to prevent any other untoward incident. Local Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA and West Bengal power minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay and party councillor Mala Roy rushed to the spot after the incident.
“Such an incident is not at all welcome. We will not allow this to happen in West Bengal. Those who were involved in it were arrested," Chattopadhyay said. “There is no logic behind defacing Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s bust because someone has pulled down Lenin’s statues," he added.
Commenting on the incident, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary Rahul Sinha said, “Whenever the Left goes out of power, they take up such tricks. This is an anti-national act." State BJP president Dilip Ghosh slammed those responsible for vandalising Mookerjee’s bust and alleged that left-wing workers had vandalised statues of many great men in the past as well.
Sounding a warning, he said, “Now they are in police custody. But if they attempt to do such a thing again, no one can give a guarantee what will happen to them."