A day after leaders of the Left and Congress led a protest march together against the arrest of JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar in Delhi on sedition charges, the students wing of both the parties intend to join hands as well for a rally on Wednesday.
The four Left-supported students’ unions – SFI (Students’ Federation of India), AISB (All India Students’ Block), PSU (Progressive Students Union) and AISF (All India Students Federation) – declared on Tuesday that they would organise a rally to protest against police action and the undemocratic atmosphere created by the BJP government.
“Similar to what’s happening in our state, there is a countrywide attack on democracy within campuses. We want to let JNU know that Kolkata is with them. The BJP government is patronising what police and the RSS brigade is doing on the JNU campus,” SFI state president Madhuja Sen Roy told reporters.
She added that Wednesday’s march will not have any political banner and all secular students unions were invited to attend it.
Apart from the cause and rally route, the Left students’ union mode of inviting other ‘secular, democratic supporters’ also bears semblance to Monday’s march by the senior party leaders.
Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 12 in connection with a case of “sedition and criminal conspiracy” over an event at the JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Slamming the state government for its silence on the issue, Roy said, “Both the TMCP (Trinamool Chhatra Parishad) and the TMC government here have been silent on the issue which says a lot about its character.”
Congress students’ union wing, Chhatra Parishad (CP) has responded to the Left’s call for the joint protest march. “We had been the first one to protest against the JNU incident. Our full support is with the Left students’ unions who are putting up the protest,” said Ashutosh Chatterjee, state CP president.
Asked if the CP would participate in the rally, Chatterjee said they would take part in it if they receive a formal invitation for the same. “So far, we have got no intimation but if there is a formal invitation to join the rally tomorrow, we might participate in it,” he said.
SFI leaders said there would be a meeting Tuesday late evening to discuss about sending an invite to the CP with other students’ unions.
A protest march was organised Monday by a forum ‘Kolkata Marches for JNU’, which saw the participation of top CPM and Congress leaders who walked together expressing their solidarity with the JNU students.
Meanwhile, the CPM held its Politburo meeting in Delhi during which the issue of forming alliance with Congress for Assembly elections was discussed.