|The Planter’s Club wall defaced by the ‘Notorious Thugs’, (below) the wall after it was whitewashed. Picture courtesy: Pradhan’s Facebook post|
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March 26: A young land and land reforms officer who had started a campaign to beautify Darjeeling town was assaulted yesterday by a group of students, some of whom were in the uniform of a reputed ICSE school, for protesting their alleged act of defacing public spaces with spray paint.
Rahul Amulya Pradhan, 28, who works in the subdivisional land and land reforms office in Darjeeling, has floated a motley group called Mukh Bandh Kaam Suru (Keep your mouth shut and start work) which go by the abbreviation, MBKS.
The MBKS, which has also student volunteers, cleans public walls and whitewash them. On March 22, Pradhan had posted on his Facebook page photographs of a wall of Planter's Club, on which another group which goes by the name "Notorious Thugs" spray-painted certain writings.
In his post, Pradhan had said: "WHAT A SHAME! Infact the ignominy of defeat and helplessness is so palpable on my face right now. Some goons and vagabounds have tarnished the wall of one of the most iconic structure of Darjeeling, the Planter's Club. This building is a local heritage, as old as Darjeeling herself. A landmark all Darjeelingeys are proud of! But these 'notorious thugs' have desecrated and vandalized a public property."
The next day, the officer again had a post saying he and his friends had whitewashed the wall with an announcement that on April 1 and 2, team MBKS "will show what a true graffiti is on this wall".
"The post received a lot of support," Pradhan today said.
However, when Pradhan was at Ladenla Road around 6.20pm yesterday, he was allegedly assaulted by the "Notorious Thugs", three of whom were in their school uniforms.
"I was standing there and a group came and started talking among themselves about how other walls which they had defaced might also be whitewashed. They then turned towards me and argued about my recent posts. I tried to explain my position but the group, three of whom were in the uniform of a reputed ICSE school in Darjeeling, started assaulting me. There was also a girl in the group," said Pradhan.
He was admitted to the district hospital in Darjeeling with head injuries and internal injuries on his back.
"I do not know their names but I can identify them if they are paraded at the school," Pradhan said.
"Not just the Planter's Club wall but other public spaces near Capitol Hall and the Darjeeling post office wall have also been sprayed with paint, which is in a very bad taste," said Pradhan.
A senior police officer said the law enforcers had registered a case. "We have started a case under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323, 325 (voluntary causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intent) of Indian Penal Code. A probe is on."