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Statue vandalism: Siliguri cops on alert

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

Following the statue desecration spree the country witnessed in the past few days, the Siliguri Metropolitan Police (SMP) has put all police stations under it on alert and instructed officers to keep a close watch on the statues and busts of prominent personalities in the town.

According to officials, there are 22 statues and busts maintained by the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC). There are other statues that are installed by political parties and organizations too.

Sources, however, said that the exact number of such statues in the town was not available, but that it could be around 70. Many statues are in a dilapidated condition and urgently need a facelift.

“We have put police stations on an alert and asked them to keep a vigil on the statues,” said commissioner of the Siliguri police, Sunil Kumar Choudhary.

Among the statues that dot the town are Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Dr BR Ambedkar, Swami Vivekananda, Masterda Surya Sen, Binay-Badal- Dinesh, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Bhanu Bhakta Acarya. The statue of Tenzing Norgey, which is located at Darjeeling More, is outside the SMC area.

“There are 22 statues and busts under the SMC. We have received some proposals to install more,” said the member of the mayor-in-council of education, culture, sports and information under the SMC, Dr Sankar Ghosh.

From Bengal to Tamil Nadu, statues and busts of eminent leaders came under attack and incidents of them being pulled down, defaced and damaged have occurred ever since the statue of communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was razed down in Tripura after the BJP win in assembly elections there ended the 25 years of Left Front rule in the state.

The statue of EV Ramasamy, affectionately called Periyar, the founder of the Dravidian movement, was also defiled in Tirupattur in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu and the statue of BR Ambedkar was damaged in Merut in Uttar Pradesh on 6 March.

In Chennai too, Ambedkar bust’s face was smeared with paint, while the head and the bust of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerje was defaced and vandalised in Kolkata on 7 March. The bust of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced in Kannur in Kerala on 8 March.