Under pressure for not arresting Trinamool Congress leaders who were caught on camera in the recent attack on Presidency University, the party tried to deflect attention here on Friday to a “Communist Party of India (Marxist) functionary named Pappu,” who was allegedly at the spot and “instigated” the incident.
“We have come to know about the role of Pappu in the attack on Presidency University. The police are on the lookout for him. How the incident took place and how he instigated everything by hurling a stone,” Partha Chatterjee told journalists.
On being asked why the administration had failed to take action against three Trinamool Congress leaders — a councillor and two members of the party’s State Secretariat — who were caught on camera on the day of the attack, Mr. Chatterjee said that the necessary documents were being gathered.
But, Mr. Chatterjee emphasised, it was important that Pappu be tracked down. “This is not a matter in which [political] colours have a bearing,” he added.
During the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Malabika Sarkar, over the phone, assuring the latter of “total support” to the university authorities.
“She [Ms. Banerjee] told me that Presidency University is her dream project and she was devastated over what has happened,” Professor Sarkar said. Meanwhile, five persons who have been arrested in connection with the incident were produced in a city court. While four of them were remanded to judicial custody till April 26, one of them was granted bail considering he had to appear for a university examination.
Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra commented on the violence at the university at an event, pointing out: “If Presidency University can be attacked in this way, what security can be expected at a primary school?”
Dr. Mishra said that the violence was “not an isolated incident,” but a part of the widespread attack on educational institutions that had descended upon on the State after the Trinamool Congress government came to power.
Speaking at a convention organised by primary school teachers, he said that the issue was one that affected not just organisations that were affiliated to the Left parties, but all teachers and students.