Kolkata: Tempers soared at Jadavpur University and adjacent areas in south Kolkata on Thursday as two groups of slogan-shouting students and activists took out rallies, with one condemning “anti-India” activities on campuses and the other railing against vandalism and “saffron” terror.
Led by Bengali actress Locket Chattopadhyay, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bajrang Dal and some other wings of the Sangh Parivar brought out a rally from Golpark to the 8b Bus stand outside the campus.
On the other hand, student unions of the three faculties of the university — Science, Arts and Engineering – called a rally on the campus, slamming the ABVP for “vandalising” the university by tearing posters put up on Tuesday.
“The way our campus has been vandalised on Tuesday is unprecedented. This is not the culture of the university. We have to stand up against saffron terror and the fascism that is being brought down on the country by the Narendra Modi government in Delhi,” said a student taking part in the rally.
The ABVP rally was fronted by a huge banner urging the people to protest the “communist traitors”.
Another banner called for creating a “communist-free campus and terrorism-free India”.
“We won’t allow any anti-national activities and anti-India slogans in educational institutions,” said Chattopadhyay.
Jadavpur University has been on the boil over the past two days when pro-Afzal Guru slogans were heard and posters were put up “seeking independence” for Kashmir and demanding “freedom” for Manipur and Nagaland.
Protests were also made against the Modi government’s handling of the Jawaharlal Nehru University row and the arrest of the university’s student union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
Jadavpur vice chancellor Suranjan Das has dismissed Tuesday’s slogans eulogising Parliament House attack mastermind Afzal Guru as the handiwork of “fringe elements” and ruled out any action, including calling in the police. However, a police officer said the matter is being “thoroughly investigated”.
The posters appearing on Wednesday were purportedly put up by a group which called itself “radical”.
“Hum kya chahe, Azadi/Kashmir ki Azadi/Manipur ki Azadi/Nagaland ki Azadi” (We demand independence/Kashmir’s independence/Manipur’s independence/Nagaland’s independence),” said one poster.
Another empathised with Afzal Guru and 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon, both of whom were convicted and executed.
“If the Gujarat mass murderers, those who hanged Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon are patriots, and if the students of Kashmir seeking independence are anti-nationals, then we are all anti-nationals,” it said.
In retaliation, another group of students carrying the tricolour and shouting “Bharat Mata ki jai” went round the campus on Wednesday and even staged a sit-in outside Aurobindo Bhavan, the university’s administrative block.
They shouted slogans demanding exemplary punishment for those indulging in “anti-national” activities and raising secessionist slogans on the campus.
The group — though small in number — then tore up the pro-Guru, pro-Memon and other posters supporting independence of Manipur and Nagaland and condemned the pro-Guru slogans heard on Tuesday.
Angry over the tearing of posters, the former group then took out a big rally that went around the campus, alleging the posters were torn by those connected with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.