Jadavpur University’s left-leaning students and RSS student wing ABVP seemed to be on a collision course on Saturday, a day after the screening of Vivek Agnihotri’s controversial “Buddha in a Traffic Jam” triggered clashes and sparked tension on the campus.
Even as governor KN Tripathi sought a report from vice-chancellor Suranjan Das and remarked that the varsity was sliding into a “centre for disturbances”, nearly 500 university students, led by the Left-backed Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students’ Union (FETSU), took out a protest march demanding arrest of ABVP supporters and a campus free of “BJP-RSS-ABVP terror”.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) warned it will not permit “Naxalite (Maoists) and anti-national” activities to go on at the university and will send a detailed report on such “anti-nationals” to the home ministry.
Advocating “Indomitable Jadavpur”, the left-inclined students shouted slogans of “BJP se Azaadi, RSS se Azaadi, Trinamool se Azaadi” and decried the curbs on freedom of speech by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
Clapping, sloganeering and beating drums, the students walked till Golpark, around 20 minutes from the campus and back.
“They molested our women students and we handed them over to the authorities. We want the ABVP goons to stay away from the campus. It is a move to malign the university,” said a student.
The protest march came a day after Jadavpur authorities lodged police complaint against outsiders, including three ABVP activists, for allegedly molesting female students during the commotion over an open-air screening of Agnihotri’s film.
Meanwhile, an ABVP delegation met Tripathi.
“We have filed a police complaint against a handful and we will also send details about the anti-nationals to the home ministry for official treatment according to a democratic process,” said ABVP leader Subir Haldar.
The campus was on the boil over the screening of the movie, organised by a group Think India -- backed by ABVP -- that faced loud protests from a the FETSU and sparked clashes.
Accusing some of the organisers of molesting female students, FETSU members allegedly beat up some ABVP supporters and confined four of them to the administrative building.
“During the screening, they tried to control freedom of speech. A professor and his three students were beaten up. They were hospitalised. Later, police complaints were also filed against them. We won’t tolerate this misbehaviour. We will not let Naxalite and anti-national activities to go on inside the Jadavpur campus. We will take all steps to ensure that,” said Haldar.
Meanwhile, siding with his students, the vice chancellor demanded the police respond to their complaint against outsiders for allegedly molesting female students.
“We hope police take appropriate action according to the law. I expect an answer from them. I would like to know what happens after the FIR,” Das told the media.
He said the governor has asked for a report and the university would send it.
The screening was originally scheduled at the varsity’s Triguna Sen auditorium but the university’s alumni association cancelled the screening on Friday morning citing poll code violation.
Despite the protests and cancellation, an open-air screening was held in the varsity’s football grounds close to the auditorium.
However, the varsity’s assistant registrar requested the showing be stopped.
As a counter, the FETSU members showed Nakul Singh Sawhney’s controversial documentary “Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki HaiA” inside the campus, a stone’s throw away from the “Buddha... “ screening.