West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo Credit: File Image)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday termed the attack on students and teachers at JNU as a “fascist surgical strike” by the BJP, evoking sharp reactions from the saffron party, which said she should stop shedding “crocodile tears”.
Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, said she had begun her political career as a student leader but never before witnessed such “brazen attack” on educational institutes. “Whatever is happening across the country is very disturbing... I, too, was involved in student politics at one point in time, but never have I witnessed this sort of an attack on students and educational institutions...
“It was a planned attack on democracy. Yesterday’s was a fascist surgical strike on the student community,” Banerjee told reporters, before leaving for Gangasagar. Whoever raised voice against the BJP was dubbed “anti-national” or a Pakistani”, she claimed.
“India is a democracy and we have our right to protest. Anyone who speaks against them is branded an enemy of the state. In a democracy, how can someone be branded anti-national or Pakistani for protesting against the government,” Banerjee questioned.
The Delhi Police is not under the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation, it is under the central government, she said. “On one hand, they (BJP) have sent goons, and, on the other, they have asked the police to not to take any action. What could police do if they are asked by their higher ups to stay put?” she said.
Later in the day, while talking to reporters at Gangasagar after offering puja at the Kapil Muni Temple, Banerjee said, “The country’s democracy is in danger, impartiality of institutions is in danger, freedom of expression is in danger.
“Why did outsiders go there (JNU) and beat up students and teachers mercilessly? Though the administration was present at the time, I have seen that nobody rescued them.” Hitting out at the central government, the chief minister said it is trying to muzzle the voices of students, farmers, youths, industrialists and civil society members.
“If a party comes to power and destroys the country’s institutions, how can the country move ahead. It is a bad message for the country,” she said. Meanwhile, the four-member Trinamool Congress (TMC) delegation that went to JNU on Monday to express solidarity with the students and teachers, was not allowed inside the campus, she alleged.
“The TMC delegation was not allowed to enter the campus. It is not important whether they were allowed to visit the campus or not. The intension is clear, they don’t want the truth to come out, so we were not allowed. We are with the students,” Banerjee said.
Reacting to Banerjee’s comments, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, Banerjee should stop shedding “crocodile tears” for the students of JNU.
“Where was she when Union minister Babul Supriyo was heckled on Jadavpur University campus on September 19 (last year)? Just to score some political points, she is sending a delegation. Why didn’t she send a delegation to those colleges which were ransacked by TMCP activists over the past eight years,” he said.
Violence broke out at Delhi’s Jawarharlal Nehru University on Sunday night, as masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers, and damaged properties on the campus, prompting the administration to call in the police.