Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has claimed to have "irrefutable evidence" that BJP goons are responsible for yesterday's violence at Amit Shah's rally and the vandalism at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata. The party, which met the Election Commission today, said they have submitted the videos, which have been doing the rounds on social media amid a blame game about who is responsible for the violence.
"Amit Shah is a pathological liar... He did not have a fig leaf to do his press conference. Let him dispute my videos," said Derek O'Brien, senior TMC leader and parliamentarian, when asked about the BJP chief's accusation that the Trinamool has staged the event to malign his party.
The vandalism has "hurt" Bengal, Derek O'Brien told NDTV.
"You have to understand the depth of what happened. This is Iswarchandra Vidyasagar. Bicentinary four weeks from now," the visibly emotional leader said. "They don't know what Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar has done for Bengal, or what his role is in Bengal Renaissance," he added.
A 19th Century educationist and reformer, Vidyasagar is much revered in the state. He had started widow remarriage and women's education, opened schools and colleges and started the use of the Bengali language as a vehicle for literature. Even today, the first book every child picks up to learn the Bengali alphabet, "Barnaparichay", was written by him.
The vandalism of his statue has thus become an emotive issue in the state, with students and political groups, including the Left and the Congress, holding protest rallies. Mamata Banerjee held a protest rally this evening that was attended by hundreds.
The Trinamool claims it has videos that show BJP goons jumped over the railing of the Vidyasagar College, the vandalism of the statue and a third, where a person appears to be instigating people for violence on WhatsApp.
At a press conference this morning, the party had presented two of the videos. The second video showed men, some of them dressed in saffron, smashing what looks like the bust.
The third video, the police said, is of one Rakesh Singh, a former Congress worker who has joined the BJP.
In the video, he is heard saying, "I am urging members of the Fatafati (a WhatsApp group) that tomorrow, you have to create trouble. Tomorrow at Amit Shah's rally, we will have 8-foot-long sticks and we will fight with the TMC and the police".