KOLKATA: The room in which Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay interacted for the first time in Jorasanko Thakurbari, the ancestral house of the Nobel laureate and a heritage structure, has allegedly been made a party office of the ruling Trinamool Congress. Responding to a PIL saying that the wall of the room of Rabindra Bharati University’s Jorasanko campus is now displaying photos of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court asked the state government to ensure that heritage structures are not tampered with.
“The room in which Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay interacted for the first time has been remodelled completely. Now pictures of Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee are hanging on the wall. The Maharshi Bhawan is part of the building where Rabindranath spent his childhood. It has been illegally occupied by an office of the varsity workers’ wing run by the ruling Trinamool Congress,’’ the PIL alleged.
The petition also mentioned that the structure had been tampered with despite the building being categorised as grade one heritage. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice R Bharatdwaj asked the state government and the university authorities to ensure that heritage structures on the campus are not tampered with.
The university has ordered an inquiry. Sabyasachi Basu Roy, the university vice-chancellor, said that remodelling the room and occupying it illegally is condemnable. “The high court has intervened. We noticed it two-three months ago. I tried to stop this. But I was told that the people who could be behind it are the ruling party’s supporters. Many officials of the institution were under pressure,” he said.
The BJP has also lashed out at the TMC over the issue. “They not only tampered with the building but they also vandalised it. They are damaging Bengal’s culture. Why did the university authorities not raise the issue,” BJP’s Asansol MLA Agnimitra Paul said. The act was also condemned by TMC MP Saugata Roy. “It should not have been done. Now the matter is in the high court,” he said.