Jadavpur University Organises Torch Rally In Solidarity With JNU
Jadavpur University students condemned the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on false charges of sedition and the police atrocity on campus by organising a torch rally on February 16.
400 students had gathered at Worldview, Jadavpur University. The number increased to 600 once the rally moved outside. The students walked from Jadavpur 8B till Dhakuria crossing. Academicians from schools and colleges, students from Calcutta University and former students of JU were also part of the rally.
Slogans such as “Protibade Comrade Godetolo barricade” (Build the barricade in protest, comrade), “ISIS ar RSS, Deshpremei korbo shesh” (ISIS and RSS’s nationalism must be vanquished) emphasised that the students will not compromise with their rights. Students will also not sacrifice their valid opinions under pressure from right wing activism. Slogans in favour of Afzal Guru were raised by a section of students. It showed that the students are en masse against the the then Congress government for awarding the death sentence to an individual without any clear evidence and the current BJP government for slapping sedition charges against those who voice their dissent and opinion.
“This is the first time in the history of Indian democracy that the police have carried out raids inside the JNU hostel, instigated by the fascist government. The Modi government’s goal is the saffronization of education by changing the syllabus of reputed institutions such as FTII, JNU. It is the duty of the students to take a stand against this oppression”, said Rupkatha Basu, Calcutta University.
“I refuse to use my surname as an identity because the system of caste has, for thousands of years, legitimized the marginalisation of minorities by the elite.
The turn of events have made us realize that we cannot rely on the unpredictable nature of the state. The state has for a long time overestimated its power. It is time to make the state realize that the word of the common man is the final word. History has witnessed that the common man has never succumbed to state sponsored oppression and torture.
Social injustice is just an excuse to deprive one of the right to life. Hence protest is the only medium to address this state of emergency” said Swapna, a schoolteacher.
Syamantakshobhan Basu, student of Jadavpur University, said “Campus democracy is challenged and civil society has come under attack. The BJP is fostering terror, which is the sign of a fascist government.”
“The BJP has misused the law of sedition to serve their own purpose”, added Shounak Mukhopadhyay,student of Jadavpur University.
The students also talked about the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 that spread communal violence. In the year 2002, thousands of Muslims in Gujrat were murdered by the BJP.
“The nation is not defined by the state alone. The nation is constituted by its citizens. It is the duty of the state to uphold and value the opinion of the citizens”, said Debayan Dey, student of Jadavpur University.
The press release stated:
Today a rally was organized in Jadavpur to condemn the police crackdown in Jawaharlal Neheru University. We, students of various universities in Calcutta along with teachers and intellectuals condemn the fascist atrocity that happened to JNU, which reminds the black days of emergency. We witnessed attacks on educational institutes by police or party goons for last one and a half years. We believe that attack on JNU was also a part of the bigger dictatorial Plan Of BJP ruled central government. The continuing saffron terror includes the culmination Of FTII’S students, institutional murder of Rohith Vemula in HCU. Anyone can differ with any mode of protest but attacking an educational institute is not the best way to communicate your dissent. So, we organized today’s rally to condemn the state atrocity on the students invoking nationalism. We believe comrade Kanhaiya was wrongly charged with sedition act and we demand his immediate release. At the same time, the barbaric act of bashing up a student, teachers on the street and threatening media persons by RSS supporters and also an M.P. is highly condemnable. However, a section of media is trying to portray today’s rally as a ‘pro-Afzal’ one. This press statement univocally condemns this mal-effort of the media as the sole purpose of the rally was to condemn the police crackdown at JNU. There may be possibility of ‘anti-India’ sloganeering by some fringe elements in the gathering. But, we want to declare that these slogans don’t depict the spirit of the rally at all. If any such incident happened in the gathering violating the common minimum program of the rally, we strongly condemn that. It may be someone’s politics but the rally was not organized to support their cause. Now, if a section of media tries to draw conclusion out of these slogans, that it was an ‘anti-India’ rally, then it is highly condemnable and we believe it is being done purposefully. We have seen one or two particular electronic media is trying to tag all the democratic voices that rose against the crackdown in JNU as ‘anti-national’. It is unfortunate that the media forgetting the ethics of journalism taking position purposefully to give a breathing space for the central government which carried out the uncivilized attack on an esteemed educational institute. We are in solidarity with all the efforts going on across the country to condemn the incident of attack on JNU.
Report by Swastisha Mukherjee
Edited by Manisha