State tourism minister Gautam Deb visited the state–run motel, Pather Sathi, located at Fulbari on Siliguri’s southern tip which was allegedly ransacked by BJP supporters during the party’s Monday protest march Uttarkanya Abhiyan and said that Trinamul would highlight the saffron party’s vandalism during its campaign.
The minister also inspected the damaged traffic guard office near Naukaghat — also allegedly vandalised by the saffron camp on Monday — and Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) officials to assess the damage.
The properties are located within the ambit of the Dabgram-Fulbari Assembly seat, of which Deb happens to be the Trinamul MLA.
“That the BJP supporters had perpetrated violence is evident from the damage caused to Pather Sathi and to the traffic guard office. The attack also hit the earnings of a self-help group of underprivileged women who run the services of Pather Sathi,” Deb said after inspecting the damage.
The Pather Sathi building has two double-bedrooms, a dormitory, dining space and kitchen.
Sources of the SJDA, which owns the building, said a preliminary estimate of the
damages puts it around Rs 10 lakh.
Along with the building off Asian Highway II, and a couple of kilometres ahead of the India-Bangladesh border, BJP supporters also ransacked a bus and a couple of bikes in Fulbari area.
Deb said during the past few years, Fulbari had emerged as a new township near the international border, with private health clinics, educational institutions and industrial estates.
“Unfortunately the BJP, which does not have any concrete issue, indulged in vandalism and created unrest in the area for political mileage,” Deb said. He said they would highlight before people the destruction. “We will ensure that people know what the BJP has done in the name of a protest march,” he said.
Trinamul sources said festoons, banners, hoardings and leaflets, with pictures of the damaged structures and violence during BJP’s Monday’s march and Tuesday’s north Bengal strike would be prepared soon.
“Those would be displayed across the region and leaflets distributed among people to show how BJP cadres fomented tension in and around Siliguri. These will also be shared on social media so that more and more people can learn about the destruction,” a Trinamul insider said.