A section of female students at Kolkata’s Jadavpur University are shameless for pressing molestation charges on ABVP workers, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said on Saturday.
Ghosh called the charges false and wondered why female students were present during clashes between Left-backed union members and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) workers over a film screening last Friday.
The ABVP is the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological patron of the BJP.
“Those who fear so much for their modesty, why did they go there? This is shamelessness. Making such allegations (of molestation) is very cheap. They intentionally threw themselves on others and are now blaming others,” Ghosh, who comes from an RSS background and is known as a hardliner, said.
His remarks were strongly condemned by a section of the varsity students and women activists.
“I just can’t think what times are we living in. Is it the 21st century, or are we going back to the middle ages?” asked Nandini Mukherjee, a professor of computer engineering of the university, who is also a CPI-M supporter.
State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said: “How can Dilip Ghosh describe them as shameless. They are daughters of your and my family. This is itself a shameless comment.”
Last week, the campus turned into a battleground over screening of Vivek Agnihotri’s film “Buddha in A Traffic Jam”. Sources said ABVP supporters came to free four of their supporters kept locked by students. The JU students alleged these four ABVP supporters molested some women. The university also lodged a police complaint against the four.
“I feel very bad that being students of a university, they are bringing such indecent allegations. This is very shameful,” Ghosh said.
The BJP and ABVP have used the dispute to allege that the Left-backed student union was violating freedom of speech by blocking Agnihotri’s film.
“ABVP is a students’ organisation and has all right to reach out to the students. If they (Left students) believe in freedom of speech, then others also have that right,” Ghosh said.
Exactly a week ago, Ghosh had dubbed the university a hub of “anti-national elements” and critcised students for allegedly shouting “anti-national” slogans.
This is the latest in a series of campus unrests across the country involving right-wing groups. Opposition parties have accused the BJP of trying to muzzle free speech and dissent with violence.
The left-leaning Jadavpur University hit the headlines earlier this year after rallies were taken out in support of the students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University who were accused of sedition for allegedly shouting “anti-national” slogans.