West Bengal Governor to visit Presidency University today
Kolkata: Two days after the attack on the prestigious Presidency University by alleged TMC youth wing activists, West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan will visit the Kolkata-based institution on Friday.
The attack on Wednesday saw a mob storm the campus and use spears and other weapons to attack students and property.
The Governor, who had on Wednesday minced no words in condemning the assault on Banerjee and her ministers, came out with a brief but strong reaction, calling the attackers "criminals". He described the incident as a "shocking pre-meditated assault".
The West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) has also taken suo moto cognisance of the happenings which led to cries of shame across the nation. It ordered the city police to probe the matter and submit a report within two weeks.
Under attack from all quarters, the state ministers tried to undo the damage by calling the incident "trivial", while one minister indicated that the CPI-M was behind the vandalism.
The police yesterday arrested two people "who were among those who vandalised the university", Joint Commissioner of Police Jawed Shamim said. He refused to comment on their political affiliation.
On Thursday, students kept away from the classes responding to a strike by the Communist Party of India-Marxist affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI) and Independent Consolidation.
The campus looked like a fortress with a large number of police personnel on vigil at the gates.
Hundreds of students, teachers, employees of Presidency University, and distinguished alumni of its former Avatar Presidency College staged a silent protest march, condemning the vandalism and demanded punishment for the miscreants.
The five-kilometer march from the university gates saw the protestors - sporting black arm and head bands - walking silently carrying placards denouncing Wednesday's vandalism.
The university authorities have sought the intervention of Governor Narayanan as well as the Chief Minister for a probe into the incident.
"I have already given an eye-witness account of the entire incident to the governor. I appeal to him as well as the chief minister to initiate a serious probe into it to ensure such a deplorable incident never recurs," said Vice Chancellor Malabika Sarkar.
However, Sarkar was the target of attack by at least two ministers.
Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee described the vandalism as a "trivial" and hit out at Sarkar for going to the media after the incident instead of the governor or the police. "How can educationists react in this way?"
Panchayat Minister Subrate Mukherjee questioned Sarkar's political credentials. "We have to see his political history and geography".
Education Minister Bratya Basu said: "The incident has been perpetrated by those who were involved in Tuesday's attacks in Delhi".
Karat vs Governor
Meanwhile, the Governor's criticism of the CPI-M invited a strong reaction from party leader Prakash Karat, who wrote to the President complaining that the Narayanan has made remarks that "do not behove a person occupying a constitutional post."
Karat, in his letter to the President, asked: "How is it that Shri Narayanan sitting in Raj Bhavan in Kolkata has come to the unfounded and totally baseless conclusion that there was a pre-meditated assault on the Chief Minister...?"
The Left leader wrote further, "All over the state of West Bengal, there are widespread attacks going on against the CPI-M and the Left Parties' offices, leaders and cadres. The Governor's statement has only encouraged these elements. As President of India, it is for you to decide whether such political interventions by the Governor are justified."
(With IANS inputs)