'Tourists from outside WB hurting Tagore's followers'

Acts of 'tourists from outside Bengal' hurting Tagore's followers: TMC

TMC MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar. Credit: Facebook (kakolighosh.dastidar.52)

 Without naming any BJP leader, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) Saturday claimed some "tourists" from outside West Bengal are visiting places associated with Rabindranath Tagore and committing acts that are hurting the sentiments of the bard's followers.

At a press meet at the party headquarters here, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, TMC MP from Barasat, said that the party would launch a strong protest against such acts by BJP heavyweights.

"Some tourists having no idea of Bengal's culture are visiting the state and places like Visva-Bharati. Recently, one such personality even sat on the chair used by Tagore during his visit to Rabindra Bhavan where articles used by the Nobel laureate are kept. They have no respect for history, heritage and traditions. They have little respect for the icon," Ghosh Dastidar said.

Countering the accusation, BJP national general secretary Anupam Hazra told PTI, the tourist and outsider theory have been invented by Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress has forgotten the role of Syama Prasad Mookerjee in shaping the path of Bengal.

Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah had visited Visva-Bharati last week and went to iconic buildings on the campus, including Rabindra Bhavan and Upasana Griho (prayer hall).

There were reports on social media that the Ghanta Ghar (bell tower) was pulled down for the Union minister's visit to Santiniketan and that Shah had sat on Tagore's chair.

However, it was not confirmed by the university authorities.

The TMC MP claimed that the bell tower, used for conducting classes, was razed to the ground during the visit of "one such heavyweight from Delhi" and authorities of the central university did not take any corrective action in this regard.

"One must keep in mind that he cannot become Rabindranath Tagore by sitting on the poet's chair. We will launch strong protest against such conduct," Ghosh Dastidar said.

The MP said, the TMC also protested against "targeting Nobel laureate Amartya Sen for his stance against the divisive ideology of BJP" by the varsity authorities and BJP leaders. Recently, a controversy has erupted over reports that Sen is in the central university's list of illegal plot holders. Accusing the BJP government of doing little to address grievances of farmers and withdraw the "anti-people farm bill", Ghosh Dastidar alleged that 45 farmers have died in the country in recent times.

Claiming that the allegations of the BJP about worsening security for women in the state was "highly exaggerated", Ghosh Dastidar said, 48 women run police stations have been set up recently.

"Any stray incident is being picked up by the BJP. Even women leaders of the BJP from the state, who have no political background, are joining the chorus. Women are safe and secure here," she said.

Alleging that there are incidents of atrocities on women and dalits in BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the TMC MP said, the saffron party is silent on it.

The BJP national general secretary said, while the TMC is going hammer and tongs over the saffron party being disrespectful of Bengal's icons which is "blatantly false", it owes an explanation why Mamata Banerjee's picture is placed side by side with luminaries like Rabindranath Tagore and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in state government posters.

A BJP Mahila Morcha leader said, Ghosh Dastidar is hiding the real situation in Bengal where attacks on women are "taking place every day with many going unreported".