KOLKATA: Peeved at medical students protesting against him, a West Bengal minister - himself a doctor - on Tuesday used a popular Hindi proverb to dub them "dogs", triggering howls of protest from the students.
Nirmal Maji, Minister of State for labour and West Bengal Medical Council President, faced "go back" slogans and was shown black flags by the students when he entered the venue of the 186th Foundation Day programme of the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
Calling him "controversial", the protestors - mainly comprising leftist students of the medical college - claimed he had come "uninvited".
"We don't recognise him. We don't want him here. He is no more connected in any way to the institution. He is unwelcome. Nobody invited him," said one of the protesting students.
An angry Maji, chairman of the Patients' Welfare Committee of the hospital, however, eluded the protesters, and mounted the dais.
As he started delivering his speech, the student protest intensified, and then Maji cited the Hindi proverb "Hathi chale bazaar, kutte bhonke hazaar" (an elephant walks on without heeding barks of dogs behind him).
The students protest turned raucous and the slogan-shouting increased.
"He always makes cheap comments about everybody, including us. We don't want to stoop to his level," said a protester.
Power Minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, another invitee at the programme, said: "Students make mistakes. They have the right to make blunders. But as elders, we should forgive them."