Kolkata: A Trinamool Congress student union leader was arrested and sent to custody on Wednesday following allegations that he publicly threatened to blow up a police station and set afire the officer-in-charge’s car for sending policemen to a college when the principal was kept under siege by students.
Soumitra Banerjee, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) Block President of Raniganj in Burdwan district, on Tuesday allegedly threatened the officer-in-charge and even exhorted his loyalists not to be afraid of police “who are mere servants of the government run by us”.
Banerjee apparently lost his cool after officer-in-charge Arnab Guha sent police personnel for rescuing Tribeni Devi Bhalotia College principal Swadesh Majumdar, who was kept under siege by TMCP activists who demanded the deadline for online admissions be extended.
They also demanded that students from rural pockets be allowed to complete the admission process.
“How dare you send in police to the college without the principal having called you? I’m giving you five minutes. Ask the officer-in-charge to come. If he does not, I will bomb the police station and set his vehicles ablaze,” Banerjee allegedly told a policeman over his mobile phone.
That was not the end.
The leader next addressed the TMCP activists, telling them that police will not be able to do anything to them.
“Don’t be afraid. Police won’t be able to do anything. Police are mere servants of the government run by us,” he said.
As TV channels began airing the bytes of his explosive comments, opposition parties, educationists and the civil society lashed out against the state’s Trinamool government and demanded Banerjee’s immediate arrest.
“No wonder he is saying such things. He has learnt it from his seniors in the party. This is only symbolic of the all-round decadence we see in the state,” said former Vice Chancellor Anandadeb Mukhopadhyay, taking a dig at Birbhum district Trinamool President Anubrata Mondal, who is known for making controversial remarks like urging his loyalists to burn residences of dissidents and bomb police personnel.
Leaders of the CPI-M, BJP and the Congress condemned Banerjee’s comments.
As the issue seemed to be snowballing, TMCP state chief Ashok Rudra announced on Tuesday night that Banerjee has been suspended.
On Wednesday, Banerjee was arrested and presented in court, which sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.
Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee later told media persons that Banerjee has been expelled. “Administrative action is being taken against him,” he said. (IANS)