New Delhi: Amidst intensification of the student protest at Jawaharlal Nehru University here on Thursday, a statue of Swami Vivekananda which is yet to be unveiled inside the campus was found defaced with slogans and graffiti painted on its base.
Students of the university, however, denied their involvement and termed it an act by some miscreants to dilute the JNU Students Union movement against the varsity administration against fee hike and hostel manual.
A group of students later wiped off the slogans painted near the statue.
"The act to paint slogans and words around the statue was a very wrong one, it was done to divert the theme of our protests, which is demanding cheap education for all, and to give it a religious tone," said Sunny Dhiman, a student of the University who had led the group of students who cleaned the area around the statue.
"We have wiped off whatever slogans were painted at the feet of the statue with the help of fellow students. Vivekanandaji is an icon of the country and we might agree or disagree with his ideas but the JNU students will never indulge in this kind of behaviour," Dhiman told ANI.
Students of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), to mark their protest against the defacing, arrived afterwards at the statue and lit earthen lamps and showered flowers around it.
The ABVP has decided to hold a night-long meeting at the statue during which they will discuss the ideas of Swami Vivekananda.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, responding to a question on the alleged vandalisation of Swami Vivekananda's statue inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in Delhi, said, "It is a sad day for us."
Meanwhile, BJP leader Kapil Mishra termed the act of defacing the statue as "sickening mentality" and urged strict action against those responsible.
"The defacing of Vivekanandaji's statue in JNU is a symbol of sickening mentality. Why the hate against Vivekanandaji? Some people have a problem with every icon of the nation and religion. These are not students, but roadside ruffians and should be punished as per the punishment for the criminals and traitors," Mishra's tweet read.