News Desk: A fresh row has erupted between West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over vandalism in the Visva Bharti University, an incident the governor termed as ‘symptomatic’ of the ‘failure’ of law and order in the state. He alleged that it was “planned and done with political patronage.” Dhankar condemned the vandalism in Visva Bharti in a series of tweets and posted a video and pictures of the incident. He said he had talked to the chief minister and hoped the administration would act against the perpetrators.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, said that she told the governor that the state’s role regarding Monday’s violence on the Poush Mela ground was limited as Visva Bharati was a central varsity. She said she did not want any construction at the university and has asked the police to convene a meeting of stakeholders. “The governor had called me. We had a discussion over the violence that took place on the ground. I told him that Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore founded it with a vision to celebrate different festivals… l told him that I don’t want any construction to take place on that ground.
Earlier, too, there was a problem over a seminar on the campus… I have asked the SP (to convene a meeting of university authorities and the local administration,” she said. Trouble erupted at Visva-Bharati in Birbhum on Monday as a large number of people ransacked the properties of the university to protest the construction of a boundary wall. Sources said university authorities had decided to build a fence around the ground, where the winter fair is held every year, and construction work accordingly started in the morning. This year, the fair has been cancelled over environmental concerns.
However, the governor said that the National Green Tribunal had ordered for the mela ground adjacent to the university to be demarcated and a barricaded to separate the two “so that the mela ground will be a separate self-contained unit from the university and the locality”. Those who engaged in vandalism were opposed to this demarcation. “Am distressed at rampant vandalism at Visva Bharati with administration of Mamata Banerjee failing to take timely preemptive steps. Have shared with CM the hoary scenes of violence and police and administration being nowhere around. Appeal for peace,” Dhankar said on Twitter.