It’s red vs saffron as Jadavpur University goes the JNU way

  • Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: May 08, 2016 08:35 IST
Students of Jadavpur University play drums and shout slogans in a protest rally against alleged attack by ABVP activists in Kolkata on Saturday evening. (PTI)

The confrontation between the students of Jadavpur University and the members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) draws a stark semblance to the conflict between the Leftist and saffron camps at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the Capital.

That the ABVP is struggling to secure a foothold in the predominantly red zone of JU campus became clear when Subir Haldar, the outfit’s Bengal unit secretary said on Saturday, “Leftists are all anti-nationals. We will fight tooth and nail to gain a foothold in the JU campus and weed out the Leftists.”

Read | Jadavpur University students, ABVP on collision course day after clashes

Interestingly, the constantly-fighting Left wing outfits on JU campus — from SFI to ultra Left — have come together to fight the saffron offensive. The slogans and counter slogans on Friday and Saturday evening proved it.

The Left wing students, belonging to various brands of outfits such as the CPI(M)’s SFI, CPI(ML)’s AISA, SUCI’s DSF and the Maoist-leaning USDF and Radical, raised slogans like “Manuvaad se azadi”, “Brahmanyavaad se azadi” and “Sangh se lenge azadi, hum chhinke lenge azadi”.

The saffron camp shouted, “Deshdrohi Naxalion ko Jadavpur se dho dalo” and “Dudh mango to kheer denge, Kashmir mango to cheer denge”.

Students of Jadavpur University take part in a rally to protest against alleged ABVP activists attack on them in Kolkata on Saturday evening. (PTI)

Trouble started on the JU campus in February when BJP state president and senior RSS pracharak Dilip Ghosh vowed to drive all ‘anti-national elements’, including teachers, out of the campus.

Read | Jadavpur University students to protest against ‘planned fascist attack’ on campus

It came following ABVP members’ failed attempt to enter the campus with a procession, on the pretext of protesting the raising of slogans demanding ‘azadi’ for Kashmir and Manipur. The teachers joined the students in a human chain to prevent ABVP members from entering the campus.

Ghosh’s remarks on Saturday made the battle of ideologies clearer. “Jadavpur University is a hub of anti-nationals. The screening of a film, cleared by the Censor Board, was stopped illegally. The trend of CPI(M) and Left-backed student unions of JU has been to stop anything that is against their ideology, which is totally against the country’s democratic set up,” Ghosh said on Saturday.


  • March 2016 | NIT Srinagar: Cricket to clashes
  • Kashmiri and outstation students clashed over India’s defeat in the World T20 semifinal on March 31, when some students native to the region started celebrating. In the following days, outstation students refused to attend classes till the institute was shifted out of the Valley – a demand eventually rejected.
  • February 2016 | JNU sedition row
  • An event over the manner in which Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in 2013 snowballed into a Left vs Right fight on campus. Student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and several others were arrested for sedition, prompting allegations of police persecution and state overreach.
  • January 2016 | Hyderabad University: Rohith Vemula suicide
  • In January, the Dalit student activist was found dead in an apparent suicide, following which protests began. Violence flared afresh in late March when the V-C, who had gone on leave, returned and students started a protest that was met with police aggression.
  • August 2015 | FTII: Protests against new chairman
  • The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan was vehemently opposed by students of the Pune film institute, who questioned the actor’s lack of cinematic credentials and his proximity to the BJP. In August 2015, police arrested striking students.
  • Friday’s incident on the campus was a culmination of ABVP’s constant effort to penetrate the JU campus, felt majority of the professors who spoke to HT on Saturday.

    “JU stands united to protect its culture and heritage,” Nandini Mukherjee, a senior member of Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA), said.

    On Saturday, the protest rally by students had the support of a large number of teachers.

    Students of Jadavpur University take part in a rally to protest against alleged ABVP activists attack on them in Kolkata on Saturday evening,while city traffic came to a stand still. (PTI)

    JU chancellor and Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed concern over the state of affairs on the campus and sought a report from the vice-chancellor. “Jadavpur University, once known as centre for excellence, is fast turning into centre for disturbances. The authorities should take stern action against it,” Tripathi told PTI.

    Vice-chancellor Suranjan Das stood by the students who allegedly heckled ABVP supporters. “We have lodged an FIR against outsiders who were caught by our students and then handed over by us to the police. It is the police which have to act now,” Das said.

    Read | Four ABVP, BJP workers booked for ‘molesting’ Jadavpur university students

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