West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has unveiled the new bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at Vidyasagar College on Monday which was destroyed during violence at BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata. According to the event schedule released earlier, Mamata Banerjee first paid floral tribute to the leader at a ceremonial programme at the Hare School ground on College street and then walked on foot from there to the Vidyasagar college on Bidhan Sarani, where the statue was re-installed in her presence.
Speaking at the event, Banerjee accused the BJP of trying to disrupt Bengal's culture. "It doesn’t end at breaking a statue. Are they trying to disrupt the culture of Bengal? Bengal is not Gujarat," she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to install a "grand statue" at the same spot, while blaming the TMC for the desecration. "We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during Bhai Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata. They vandalized Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue. We are committed to Vidyasagar's vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot,” he said.
The bust of Vidyasagar was vandalised in clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers at Vidyasagar College during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow on May 14. Later while addressing a meeting in the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 16, promised to build a grand 'panch dhatu' (traditional five-metal alloys of sacred significance) statue of Vidyasagar at the same spot where the old one stood before being vandalized.
West Bengal CM Banerjee however publically denied the proposal by asserting that her state has got enough money to make the structure.
According to West Bengal Information and Cultural Department, the events related to re-installation of the bust today are being organized by state's Higher Education and School Education Department in collaboration with the committee for the 200th birth anniversary of Vidyasagar.
Mamata Banerjee, had earlier, said a new bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar will be installed at the Vidyasagar College in place of the old one, which was desecrated by miscreants last month. "The state government will place a bust of Vidyasagar on June 11. Another statue of bronze is being prepared," Banerjee said.
It will also conduct beautification work at the college and upgrade the museum there, she said, adding, a standing statue of Rabindranath Tagore and another of Asutosh Mukherjee will be installed in front of the Presidency University and Calcutta University, respectively.
Banerjee said her government will be organising a number of programmes to commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of Vidyasagar.
The West Bengal government had also formed a five-member committee to look into the desecration of the bust of Vidyasagar during a BJP rally in the city earlier this month, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
The panel will be headed by newly-appointed Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, and includes Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma, Additional Commissioner of Police Jawed Shamin and Principal of Vidyasagar College Goutam Kundu, she said.
"During the elections, miscreants destroyed the bust of Vidyasagar. We have formed a committee... It will look into the incident and its causes," Banarjee said at the state secretariat.
Two FIRs have already been lodged in the case and 35 people have been arrested, the chief minister said.