KOLKATA, 24 AUG: While Bidhannagar Municipality chairman, Mrs Krishna Chakraborty, did a complete U-turn from her previous statement that students from the North-east staying in the township are an “embarrassment” to the citizens, Left leaders came down heavily on her today while dubbing her comment as irresponsible.
Mrs Chakraborty had said there are cultural differences between Bengali bhadralok and youths from the North-east who drink openly, are promiscuous and display affection towards the opposite sex at public places. Even the girls smoke on the streets.
After The Statesman published a story on what Mrs Chakraborty’s had said about the students from North-eastern states of the country in a public discussion held in the township, she said today: “If sale of liquor was not banned, certainly drinking alcohol was also allowed.” The chairman who had earlier said that men and women from the North-east behave “immorally” on the streets today said that “the brothers and sisters can certainly drink in their room.”
Mrs Ila Nandi, Leader of Opposition of the civic body, said that the comment was ridiculous. “We cannot call people from a certain region rowdy. Youths often tend to cross limits but we can never say such youths are from a specific state or region,” she added. Mr Biswajivan Majumdar, former chairman of the civic body when it was run by CPI-M, said that the comment by Mrs Chakarborty was uncalled for as during his chairmanship students from the North-east were never a problem. “One should never say such things when holding a responsible position in the society. One needs to know the culture of a state first before commenting on its people,” he added. Mr Tapan Talukdar, who was a CIC member in CPI-M-run civic body, said that even if there are problems because of the people from the North-east, one should never make public statement which flares regionalism.
Md Salim, CPI-M state secretariat member, said that such hate campaigns are seen in New Delhi where women from Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura are often found to be victims of sexual crimes. “Salt Lake is cosmopolitan. People of Kolkata are not demographically or geographically illiterate like those from North India and so may authors and painters settle in Kolkata because of its respect to cultural diversity. In the times of paribatan, we are witnessing Bengali chauvanism,” he said. It is not common Bengali psyche because Bengalis are liberal. People who are behind this are either out of the queue or have a vested interest, he said. Her party leaders would decide what Mrs Chakraborty should do now but her comment is deplorable, he added.
The All Assam Students Union (AASU) advisor, Mr Samujjal Bhattacharya, said: “We always advice our students to follow social structure of the place they go. We do not have good education infrastructure here and so they have to go to other states. I would request seniors to guide our students.”