Kolkata: Condemning the vandalism in a North Kolkata college and destruction of Bengali polymath Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar's bust during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday, senior leaders of the Left Front on Wednesday organised a protest rally in the city.
The rally led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Left Front Chairman Biman Bose started from Vidyasagar Uddyan in Central Kolkata's College Square to Azad Hind Bag near Hedua.
The Left leaders and activists participating in the rally termed the incident of vandalism and arson as a "scar" in the face of Bengal's cultural tradition and urged people not to fall prey to the "trap of communal polarisation" created by the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"Vidyasagar was an important part of Bengal's renaissance. His social contributions changed the course of the national movement and ensured that India became free," Yechury said before the protest rally began.
"It is a very dismal show by both the political parties which claim to uphold the heritage and traditions of Indian civilisation and both of them are acting completely against that. I appeal to the people of Bengal not to fall prey to their trap of communal polarisation," he said.
Noting that the incident of attack in an age-old institute like the Vidyasagar College was against Bengal's cultural ethos, veteran Left leader Biman Bose said that there should be a "proper probe" to find out who were responsible for the violence and demanded strict action against the offenders.
"Vidyasagar College is an iconic institution with a glorious past. There are no words to condemn the arson in a college of that magnitude and attack on Vidyasagar himself. We are ashamed to think that they (vandals) are the people of Bengal. I do not think people of Bengal can do that," Bose said.
"The matter should be probed to find out who committed the crime. The Election Commission should investigate the matter as the vandalism happened during an election campaign. The offenders should be given appropriate punishment. The incident is against the tradition of Bengal. It has pained the people and scarred our legacy. We strongly condemn the issue," he added.
Clashes broke out between members of Trinamool Congress students' union and BJP supporters who participated in Shah's roadshow in North Kolkata on Tuesday evening, following which a group of saffron party activists allegedly resorted to vandalism inside the Vidyasagar College campus and destroyed a bust of Vidyasagar.