- Statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar broken in clashes
- Amit Shah was holding a roadshow in Kolkata
- Trinamool Congress alleges BJP workers smashed statue
The smashing of a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in clashes during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday has set off a whodunit where video clips are flying from both sides, the BJP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.
Amit Shah said Trinamool activists attacked his roadshow and it was Mamata Banerjee who had the Vidyasagar bust broken as part of a "conspiracy" to blame the BJP ahead of the last round of voting for the national election. Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien lobbed the allegation right back and called the BJP chief "Dhokabaaz" and "pukeworthy". He also complained to the Election Commission, submitted what he called video proof that the BJP was behind the vandalism.
The bust was broken at the Vidyasagar College, which was on the route of the BJP president's rally.
"The gates were shut, our roadshow was outside, our workers were outside, the bust was inside a room, which would have presumably been locked. The keys must have been with the college management. How can we break the statue," Amit Shah questioned at a press conference in Delhi, displaying three photographs. The BJP chief also claimed his party workers were far from the gate of the Vidyasagar College.
The Trinamool, however, put out a video that shows workers - it says they were BJP supporters -- climbing over the college railing and then rushing inside the campus. The video shows the group armed with stones and sticks.
Students of the college said the gate was broken, unlike the BJP's claim that it was intact.
An emotional Derek O'Brien of Trinamool, speaking at what he called the "saddest press conference we have held", said: "Amit Shah is a liar. We expect the media to make an assessment not with the puke he spews but with authentic videos."
He added: "What happened yesterday hurt the very ethos of Bengal. Just look at the pictures, what else can I say. What else can I do? Amit Shah hired goons from outside Bengal to do this. Look at these videos. These are authentic videos, we are putting it on record." He alleged that the attackers said: "Vidyasagar shesh (over). Where's the josh?"
The Trinamool leader lashed out at Amit Shah for "not knowing" where Rabindranath Tagore was born. "He said Tagore was born in Birbhum, he doesn't even know that he was born in Jorasako."
A student has filed a police complaint against Amit Shah and several other students took out a silent protest, using black tape on their mouth.