Shantiniketan trouble: Vishwa Bharati lodges FIR against Trinamool MLA & traders’ association; traders file complaint against VB

The Vishwa Bharati authorities have lodged a first information report against nine persons for Monday’s trouble at the Shantiniketan campus over construction of a boundary wall around the Poush Mela grounds.

The FIR includes the name of Trinamool Congress MLA from Dubrajpur, Naresh Bauri. Two other Trinamool leaders have also been named in the complaint. Names of some local traders are also in the FIR, along with the mention of about a 100 people involved in the vandalism and ransacking of Vishwa Bharati property.

Some traders have also filed a complaint against the university authorities and alleged that they were being targeted and harassed.

There was trouble at the campus in Birbhum district on Monday as hundreds of local people bulldozed a fence and ransacked the site around which a boundary wall was being set up. Trinamool Congress MLA from Dubrajpur, Naresh Bauri, was allegedly present when the ransacking took place. A local office of the construction site was also vandalised. Bricks from the construction site were hurled at the iron gates and a bulldozer was used to damage one of the gates of Vishwa Bharati.

The Vishwa Bharati authorities had decided to call off the Poush Mela, a decision that angered the local traders’ body. The traders have said that they would organise the fair. The association – Bolpur Byabosayee Samity – said that the fair had a long tradition and could not be cancelled and prevented the university authorities from building the boundary wall. The university authorities decided to call off the fair due to their difficulty in organising the fair amid a tussle with the traders on making them comply with the National Green Tribunal (NBT) guidelines.

While the trouble took place on Monday under this backdrop, there has been discontent among the local people about the boundary wall being set up around a ground that has always been left open. Many morning walkers use the ground as well. The Vishwa Bharati authorities have however, said that the move is not to restrict people from using it but for security reasons.

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar discussed the matter on Monday. Later, the CM said that she was against the setting up of a boundary wall, and said the local administration would discuss the matter with the university authorities.

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