Babul Supriyo, Union Minister and BJP leader, was reportedly heckled by student of the Jadavpur University on Thursday evening when he went to attend a programme organised by its student’s wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
NDTV reported that Supriyo had to be escorted out of the university campus by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who had to rush to the spot.
What exactly happened?
While Supriyo was shown black flags, videos show students pulling his hair and pushing him, the governor too faced protests.
However, students of the university have claimed this was only in retaliation when “ABVP goons” attacked the students.
The Telegraph reported that the students protested Supriyo’s entry into the university citing the BJP’s involvement in the the National Register of Citizens in Assam that the Modi government planned to implement across the country.
PTI reported that students belonging to SFI, Left leaning AFSU and FETSU and AISA, a naxalite sudents wing and a few members of the TMCP, demonstrated against Dhankar who is also the chancellor of the university.
The PTI report said that the students blocked his way and thumped the bonnet of his vehicle. The governor was seen helping Babul Supriyo to the vehicle.
Dhankhar and Babul Supriyo finally left the campus late in the evening hours after university teachers stepped in and persuaded the agitating students to lift their blockade, a spokesman of Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) said.
ABVP vandalised the campus
PTI reported that after the incident stick-wielding supporters of ABVP, who had held a seminar in the campus during the day which sparked off the unrest at the university, vandalised the room of the Arts Faculty Students Union (AFSU).
Reports suggest that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chants were heard outside the university after the incident.
The Telegraph report said that ABVP protesters set fire on bicycles and banners near the university gates.
Political battle ensued
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday said the “gherao” Union Minister Babul Supriyo by a section of Jadavpur University students was a very serious matter and asked the state chief secretary to take immediate action with regard to it.
Chief secretary Malay De assured immediate action and indicated that a primary direction is being issued to the city police commissioner in this regard, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the BJP blamed the Trinamool Congress for a “breakdown of law and order” in the city. “The incident is ample evidence of the worsening law and order situation in Bengal. The TMC government and the police allowed this to happen. In a state where a union minister and governor are not safe, you can very well understand the condition of the common people,” BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvergiya told PTI.
Vijayvergiya also took a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s recent Delhi visit to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying she should, instead, take care of the law and order situation in her state.
The West Bengal Congress leadership also criticised the incident and said the police should have taken prompt action to avert the episode.
“The state government has failed to uphold the rule of law. At the same time, I must say that the union minister should have been more composed in his reaction,” State Congress president Somen Mitra said.
Meanwhile the ruling TMC claimed that the governor went to the university without informing the state government.
The Telegraph quoted TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee as saying, “This is most unfortunate and shocking that our Governor, the custodian of the Constitution of the State, without informing the elected government went to the so-called rescue of the BJP leader from Jadavpur University.”
Chatterjee also claimed that Supriyo did not inform the government that he would be going to Jadavpur University.
“BJP leader Babul Supriyo went there to attend the BJP students’ wing program without informing the government even,” he said.
Terming the incident “unfortunate”, Chatterjee said: “The state police was waiting outside the university, but were unable to enter in the absence of any communication from the VC (vice-chancellor).”
″(The) governor went there without taking the State Government into confidence. On his way, he rang up the CM,” Chatterjee said. “CM requested him several times that the Governor, being the constitutional head, need not go at this moment.”
“The CM requested him to give the government some time to peacefully solve the issue. But, instead of taking the government into confidence, the Governor went there to help BJP,” the education minister said.
Chatterjee questioned the Dhankar’s statement where he said “this is a very serious reflection on the law and order in the state”, wondered why the governor did not offer any comment on the vandalism allegedly perpetrated by the BJP and ABVP “goons” in the Jadavpur University campus on Thursday.
“We strongly oppose his political views,” Chatterjee said, adding that neither the TMC students’ wing nor the police were involved in the incident, which he said was between the Left students’ union versus the BJP and Supriyo.
(With PTI inputs)