West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during Teachers' Day programme, in Kolkata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during Teachers' Day programme, in Kolkata
PTI Photo

Kolkata: Calling upon the teaching community to be on guard against any attempt to change the Constitution and history of the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said they will be the main force in the battle to save our heritage.

She recalled vandalisation of a bust of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar, a 19th century Bengali social and educational reformer, at a college here in May and said any bid to erase the history of Bengal renaissance will not succeed.

Supporters of the BJP and the TMC had on May 14 fought pitched battles on the streets of Kolkata and the bust was vandalised during a massive road show by the saffron party president Amit Shah. Banerjee, however, did not name any political party or organisation while addressing a Teachers' Day function here.

"Members of the teaching community have always thwarted any bid to change our history, our heritage, our culture. There is a long battle ahead and I need your wholehearted support in the battle," she said.

Banerjee said despite its tight fiscal situation, the state government has allocated Rs 20 crore for PhD scholars as the University Grants Commission has suddenly stopped the fund for research.

The chief minister said the Centre has also stopped funding the 'Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan' and, as a result, the state government is forced to bear the entire economic burden of Rs 17,000 crore to run the project.

Apparently referring to the opposition that had expressed solidarity with the agitating teachers recently, she said, "I call upon the teaching community not to be swayed by the propaganda of those who have not done anything for you during their tenure."

Twenty professors, 22 secondary school teachers and 25 higher secondary school teachers were given the 'Siksha Ratna' honour by the state government on Thursday in recognition of their services on the occasion of the Teachers' Day.

Sixty-two schools were also adjudged 'Sera (best) School' on the occasion. West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, who was also present at the programme, said a large number of colleges and universities came up during the eight-year rule of the Trinamool Congress.

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