A month after Bengal was rocked by the Vidyasagar statue desecration and ensuing protests, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday unveiled a bust of the noted reformer at the Vidyasagar College and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of “vandalising” Vidyasagar’s statue.
Speaking at the event, Ms 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.
She asserted that her party would always work to preserve Bengal’s identity and culture and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of vandalising Vidyasagar’s statue.
“The rally was taken out by Amit Shah. He is now the Home Minister. Why did he allow that (vandalism)? They have destroyed it. We have all the proof. Yet they are lying,” she alleged.
“By vandalizing the bust of Vidyasagar, his work ‘Barna Parichay’ can’t be destroyed. By criticising Raja Ram Mohan Roy they can’t destroy the culture of Bengal. This is an attack on our culture, our vision. It is an attack on our history. It’s a conspiracy to destroy Bengal. It’s a conspiracy to wipe out Bengal’s literature and history.
They will never succeed,” Ms Banerjee said.
She also dismissed the allegation that her party indulged in appeasement of Muslims and slammed the opposition parties for calling her ” anti-Hindu.”
Ms Banerjee added that there was a “conspiracy to erase the culture of Bengal” and that the state was being “defamed.”
The chief minister announced that four more statues – that of Rabindranath Tagore, Vidyasagar, Ashutosh Mookerjee and Kazi Nazrul Islam – would be installed in College street.
She also announced Rs 1 crore fund for a museum to be built at the Vidyasagar College.
The event was attended by a host of politicians, intellectuals, noted artists of the Bengali film industry and others.
Ms Banerjee and other guests took turns to garland the Vidyasagar bust at the event.
This came a month after the bust of Vidyasagar was vandalised during a roadshow led by BJP president on May 14.
The new bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in Kolkata’s Vidyasagar College was now unveiled as promised by the chief minister.
As the 6-feet-tall Vidyasagar statue was unveiled inside the Vidyasagar College on Tuesday, the spotlight is back on the revered social reformer of the British era.
Ms Banerjee also addressed a gathering of scholars, teachers and principals of a few schools to reiterate the contribution of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in Bengali literature, society and education.
Following that, she walked on foot from the Hare School ground to the Vidyasagar College on Bidhan Sarani, where the statue is to be re-installed.