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.”
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.