High drama prevailed on the Jadavpur University campus as teachers and students Thursday formed a human chain at the gates to restrict the entry of a rally by ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).
Alleging that “anti-national” slogans favouring Parliament terror attack convict Afzal Guru were raised on the campus, ABVP brought out a rally from Golpark to the campus in which BJP leaders such as actor-turned politician Rupa Ganguly, Locket Chatterjee and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose kin Chandra Bose were present.
The rally was taken out a day after BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha had said that JU students should be “beaten up” for indulging in anti-national activities in the name of protests against the arrest of JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
Subir Halder, state secretary of ABVP, claimed a stone was thrown by JU students at one of their activists, who is now said to be hospitalised.
“We had no objective of entering the campus. Ours was a peaceful protest against what is happening on the campus. They are raising anti-national slogans and supporting Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon. They are supporting forces which want division of the country,” he told PTI.
Ganguly said they won’t tolerate any anti-national movement in any of the educational institutions. “The nation comes first, under any circumstances… there are serious students who have been sent by their parents to these prestigious institutions to study and they are unable to do so for a handful of trouble-makers. Protest programmes should be held outside the campus,” she said.
Locket Chatterjee said this was all part of vote-bank politics ahead of the Assembly elections. “All these protests and movements are aimed at gaining political mileage. There are many among the protesters who have no idea what the protests are for. They, in totality, jeopardise the future of the next generation,” the BJP leader said.
On Wednesday, the Left-backed student body of JU circulated a message on social networking sites urging supporters to converge at the campus to “avoid violence”. Pamphlets expanding on the ‘Azaadi’ slogans that the students were accused of chanting, were distributed. Jubi, a member of one of the parties in JU, said, “Yes, we believe in the concept of free Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland and we do think Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru were wrongfully killed by the Indian government. If that’s anti-national, then we are all anti-national. If we feel that Bangladesh needed to be liberated from Pakistan, why can’t we apply the same logic on the Kashmir issue?”
The ABVP rally was stopped near the Jadavpur police station, about 200 metres from the university gates, when some activists broke the barricade and went close to the varsity gates where 700 students and teachers had gathered. A scuffle ensued between them and the ABVP activists who were heard chanting slogans such as “Jis Ghar Se Afzal Niklega, Uss Ghar Mein Ghus Ke Marunga” (Whichever house produces an Afzal Guru, shall face our wrath) and “Ab Bhi Jiska Khoon Na Khaula, Khoon Nehi Woh Paani Hai” (if your blood still doesn’t boil, it isn’t blood but water).
Meanwhile, professors, lecturers and PHD scholars of Jadavpur University formed a human chain to protect the students. “We don’t want any untoward incidents. It is our duty to protect our students and campus from outsiders. We don’t want to stop their rally, but we can’t let them enter the university,” said Rajeshwar Sinha, professor, Bengali Department.
Later, members of the Congress-backed students union SFI joined the Left-backed union members and took out a rally against the ABVP.
State BJP spokesperson Krishanu Mitra filed a PIL before the Calcutta High Court (WP No. 3115) demanded the arrest of the students who had allegedly chanted “anti-national” slogans and teachers who had supported the movement. “Let law of the land prevail and students who had resorted to anti-national slogans and teachers who had backed them, be arrested,” Mitra said.