Black ink was found smeared on the name of Syama Prasad Mookherjee on Presidency University’s Wall of Fame inside the university campus.
As a part of their bicentenary celebrations, the university had dedicated an entire wall to its outstanding alumni by engraving their names on the wall.
The Wall of Fame bears names of such people as Swami Vivekananda, Satyajit Ray, physcist Meghnad Saha and scientist Satyendranath Bose, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Jyoti Basu, former chief minister.
The name of the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh too adorned the wall as he was a student of this primier institute during the early half of the last century.
Like the rest, Syama Prasad Mookherjee’s name was engraved in white across the wall. It was noticed in the morning today that the portion of the wall that contains his name had black ink smeared on it.
However, when and who painted the plaque with black ink has not been identified yet. No group or person has come forward to claim responsibility for the act. Both the university authorities and students’ unions have condemned the action.
Presidency vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia said, “It is unthinkable that a Presidency student can commit this act. The wall bears the illustrious history of the institute and defacing the name of former students cannot be accepted,” A five-member team has been constituted to probe the matter and CCTV footage is being screened.
Registrar Debyojyoti Konar said, “The authorities’ standpoint is very clear here. We will find out who did this and also ensure harshest punishment for them. We have already formed a team to probe the issue.”
The university authorities called police and a while later the Deputy Commissioner (central), and the OC of Jorasanko Police station visited the university. The incident evoked a strong reactions from state education minister Partha Chatterjee.
“There are vested interests in such actions. I will urge the university to find out who is responsible for this and ensure that they are severely penalised,” Mr Chatterjee said.
The SFI unit of Presidency University has clarified that it had nothing to do with defacing the plaque and condemned the act in an official statement.
The Independent Consolidations( IC) too has similarly issued an official statement condemning the blackening of the plaque.
Meanwhile, members of Jadavpur University’s ultra-Left Radical student group, which had committed a similar defacing of a statue of Mookherjee, has extended support to those who defaced the plaque at Presidency.
A few days before, JU students belonging to the Radical group has blackened a bust of Syama Prasad Mookherjee in the city which led to seven students being arrested by police and which triggered a sea of reactions from various political fronts from across the country.
“We have no wing in PU but whoever has done it has spoken up against the moral policing that BJP is attempting with universities and colleges. It shows that students are voicing their angst against the saffron regime,” Jubi Shah, a JU student belonging to Radical who was among those arrested said.
However, Radical also feels that those responsible should have come out and claimed responsibility for their actions like they had done.
The university had arranged for a re-coat of the white paint to lighten the dark ink mark but the black mark could not be erased completely.
Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president, has demanded immediate arrest of the “culprits, who have smeared balck ink on the engravings of PU wall”.