The scramble for wall graffiti before the Lok Sabha polls is now reaching new heights as both the Left Front and the Trinamul target walls of a school building, an imambara and a heritage structure. Defacing walls of government buildings, heritage structures, educational institutions and religious places are punishable offence and the Election Commission has been empowered to take action against the offending political party. But rules and reality are poles apart in our city.
Where: Jewish Girls’ School, 4, Royd Street
What: Trinamul graffiti
Principalspeak: “We have no business with politics and hence I would not like to comment on this,” said S. Chowdhury, the principal of Jewish Girls’ School.
Studentspeak: “The graffiti is meaningless to us since we are not into politics. We don’t look at it,” said Bushra Dilshad, a student.
Moving on to Dalhousie, banners of both the CPM and Trinamul have been tied to the walls of a heritage structure opposite Telephone Bhavan. The building is a stone’s throw away from the office of the chief electoral officer (CEO). Under the Conservation of Heritage Act, blocking any part of a heritage structure is strictly prohibited. It is because of this act that the CMC pulls down billboards in front of a listed structure.
Where: 33 BBD Bag, opposite Telephone Bhavan
What: CPM and Trinamul banners tied to the walls of the structure.
Citizenspeak: “I am personally against graffiti and banner publicity. Political parties use them to attack their opponents. We, the common people, know what is right and what is wrong, so why are they spoiling the city walls?” asked Amal Krishan Roy, a railway employee.
“We want a government run by gentlemen and an administration free from party office. It is a heritage building and of course many tourists visit this area. This sort of political publicity is an eyesore. It is time for us citizens to unite and boycott the leaders who make our city look ugly,” said Rina Ghosh, a BSNL employee.
The Shahi Imambara at Metiabruz built by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is a religious place as well as a heritage structure. A CPM poll graffiti adorns one of its walls. Neither the CMC nor the Election Commission has taken any step against this glaring defacement.
Where: Shahi Imambara, Metiabruz
What: CPM poll graffiti
Citizenspeak: “I have been living in Metiabruz for more than 40 years and this type of graffiti is common here. Our sentiments have been hurt but local people can’t protest out of fear. We expected that the police or the CMC will take steps but they too don’t dare to do anything against the ruling party,” said Arshad Alam a resident of Nayee Karbala.
“It is a historical building and this kind of publicity is destroying its sanctity,” said Sudip Pal a trader at the Shahi Imambara premises.
“It is against the law to deface walls of a school building or religious place or a heritage structure. We are yet to receive any complaints about this. Once we do, we shall surely take steps,” said Debashish Sen
“It is the responsibility of the local police to file a complaint of defacement of public property in the municipal court. Once that is done, we will take stringent action against the offender,” said Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya.
— Talat Salahuddin