Had no intention to personally attack Amartya Sen: BJP Bengal chief

Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) Virtually justifying his vitriolic outburst against Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen, BJP West Bengal unit President Dilip Ghosh on Friday maintained he said what he felt was right and the attack was not personal.

Ghosh said he targeted the state’s intellectual class in general for their silence on issues concerning Hindu oppression and lack of law and order.

“Though Amartya Sen is against our ideology for a long time, I had no intention to personally attack him. I said what I felt is true,” Ghosh told IANS.

Ghosh said he made those comments during a seminar on the issue of citizenship for the refugees in the state and the current problems of Hindu society in Bengal to question the silence of intellectuals.

“Amartya Sen is one of the most prominent intellectuals of Bengal. Why is a vastly educated and renowned person like him not saying anything on issues like this? He should say something for the sake of Bengal that has given him so much. On whose interest is he silent? what is he scared of?” Ghosh asked.

Describing the present situation in West Bengal as “critical”, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the intellectuals should come forward to guide people in the right direction instead of shying away under the umbrella of a “specific banner”.

“The society is in great trouble. The education system in Bengal is decaying. Intellectuals like him should come forward in torrid times like this to lead common people in the right direction,” Ghosh said.

“If they take shelter under a specific banner or follow a certain person, why should they be considered as intellectuals?” he questioned.

Taking a swipe at the intellectuals for not speaking out against the attack on Hindus, Ghosh accused them of taking up issues that created more buzz in the civil society and gave them recognition.

“The principals, vice-chancellors of many institutions in the state are leaving, several schools and colleges in the state are getting closed… Why aren’t the intellectuals speaking up on these issues? Maybe they are silent because protesting against these issues won’t fetch them awards, accolades or prestigious positions,” he added.

Ghosh has drawn allround flak for making a vitriolic personal attack on Amartya Sen on February 11, casting aspersions on his achievements, contribution and character. He had also remarked that such people who lacked “backbone and character were now Bengal’s pride”.

Sen has, however, refused to cross swords with Ghosh. The Bharat Ratna awardee said he saw “no reason” to object to the comments of the BJP leader, who had a “right to say whatever he felt right”.