KOLKATA, 29 DEC: The Bidhannagar Town Congress Committee and the Chhatra Parishad today hit the streets protesting against chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee’s decision to convert Indira Bhavan into a museum for the Bengal’s rebel poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Miss Banerjee had yesterday announced at Writers’ Buildings that Jyoti Basu’s belongings had been cleared from the building, where he lived for two decades, till his death, and that it would be turned into a museum and research centre on Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Former Congress MLA Mr Arunabha Ghosh said that Indira Bhavan was the venue for the Calcutta Congress Session in 1972 and one of the motives behind organising the session at a barren place as Salt Lake in 1970s was to initiate the development of the area. A one-storey thatched structure was constructed for Indira Gandhi’s stay during the session. In 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, the structure, that was later developed into a two-storey building, was named Indira Bhavan.
“The place has a history attached to it and how can the name of a historical place be changed just like that? Can the name of Bidhannagar be ever changed? Can Taj Mahal be renamed? The chief minister may do anything she wants to do with the building, but why the name is being changed?” asked Mr Ghosh.
The protest meet began at 2.30 p.m. today in front of Indira Bhavan and was attended by Congress leaders like Mr Debi Ghoshal, Mr Nirbed Roy, Mrs Mala Ray and Mr Ajoy Ghosh.
Mr Debabrata Basu, vice president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, said that the move has hurt the sentiments of the Congress workers throughout the country. “If the chief minister decides to use the building for a good cause, she is most welcome and we would support her. But we are hurt by the decision to rename the building,” he said.
The Left Front government had decided to allot Indira Bhavan for Jyoti Basu to live in and he had moved into the bungalow in August 1989. Since then, he continued to live there till his death in 2010.
It may be noted that the project on Kazi Nazrul was announced earlier, but it was not known where the research centre and museum on Kazi Nazrul Islam would be housed.
Activists of Chhatra Parishad also hit the streets today opposing the move. A small group of Chhatra Parishad activists started a sudden demonstration in front of the main gate of Writers’ Buildings around 2.45 p.m. today. Waving flags, they raised slogans ~ Indira Bhavan-er Naam Badal Kora Cholbe Na, Mukhyamantrir Padatyag Chai” (Don’t change the name of Indira Bhavan) .
The demonstration lasted for barely five minutes before the police whisked away the activists in a van. The chief minister, however, was not present at the Writers’ Buildings when the demonstration took place as she was busy performing a ritual at her Kalighat residence in connection with the funeral of her mother.