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#OccupyUGC Kolkata: Students Assaulted, Arrested By Police To Curb Dissent

2nd November, Kolkata: As part of the nationwide #OccupyUGC movement, students from different universities, especially JU, CU, VBU, and Presidency University, were protesting outside UGC office at Jadavpur University campus in Salt Lake from 12pm onwards. The police had stopped agitating students from entering the university premises as the way to UGC office is through the campus. They even denied women access to the toilet and did not let a protesting student—Koustav enter individually even though he had his university ID card. “Through all such actions a tension was created which resulted in the police suddenly starting to beat up the students to clear the premises and stop the peaceful sit-in demonstration”, said Koustav who is a current student of JU engineering faculty.

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The police attacked and lathi-charged around sixty protesting students at 6 in the evening. The female students were also beaten up by male cops. Twenty one students were arrested in the process and a lot of them were severely injured when taken away. “We were beaten with lathis, kicked and abused”, stated protester Sohel Abu from police custody. The students claimed that the cops had broken their cameras, phones, and guitar. No documentation in the form of photos and videos could be retrieved as the police had taken away cameras and phones of the protesters documenting the incident and thrown those into the drainage water to damage them. “The police had even made a few people delete the attack footage so there is no evidence of this unjustified police brutality”, said another protester from JU.

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Students writing posters in front of the Police Station. Photo by Nabottama Pal
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The police packing up banners and posters left at the spot after cracking down on students. Photo by Sougata Mukherjee

After the police had cleared out the protesters, the police confiscated all their bags and belongings. The arrested students were taken away to two different police stations: Bidhannagar South Police Station and Nabadiganta Police station in Sector V. The rest of the protesters went to Bidhannagar South Police Station and began a demonstration there with songs and slogans. They negotiated with the police to let their fellow arrested students go without a legal charge as till then they had only been detained by the police.

Protesters demonstrate in front of Bidhannagar South Police Station. Photo by Aritry Das
Protesters demonstrate in front of Bidhannagar South Police Station. Photo by Aritry Das

After three hours of agitation in front of the police station the police decided to let all the students go. After that it was decided that around 40 students will be occupying the front of the UGC office throughout the night and in the morning they will be submitting their deputation to UGC. There is also a call for protest gathering at the same location (JU, Salt Lake Campus, UGC Office) today from 12pm . The students have decided to take the movement forward by protesting against this state aided atrocity along with their existing demands to save non-NET fellowship and stop WTO.

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Arrested students wait inside the police station in bad condition. Source: Posted to Facebook by one of the students.
A student injured in the hands of the police.
A student injured in the hands of the police.

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Reported by Aritry Das.

Edited by Manisha 

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