At a time the raging firestorm over the arrest of a JNU student leader for alleged anti-India utterances has swept the country and has split opinion on free speech, a Kolkata-based Supreme Court lawyer has issued an advertisement on newspapers in a bid to rally support against ‘anti-national elements’.
In the half-page advertisement that was carried by some Bengal dailies on Wednesday, a city-based NGO run by the lawyer, Joydip Mukherjee, lashed out at a section of the political establishment and individuals for pledging support to the JNU protest.
“A section of people having vested interests is chanting antinational slogans with support of a few political parties. They are supporting the external forces that want to destabilise our country. People who love India won’t support such activities,” Mukherjee, who heads the NGO, All India Legal Aid Forum (AI LAF), said.
Mukherjee, who is known to be close to the ruling Trinamool Congress, had earlier been vocal on such issues as the declassification of all files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the need to close down all brick kilns and hotels in Tarapith over rising pollution levels.
While the Left, Congress and the BJP have already taken sides and waded into the JNU turmoil, the Trinamool has yet to make its stand known in the matter. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is known to tweet her opinion on various issues hogging headlines in the national political sphere, has reserved a studied silence on the issue.
However, Mukherjee was especially critical of the Left parties over their stand on the issue.
On Tuesday evening, a section of JU students, mostly affiliated to Left-backed unions, took out a torch rally on campus to voice solidarity with their JNU counterparts. A few of them are alleged to have raised slogans in the name of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Even a placard was reportedly spotted in support of the separatist movement in Kashmir.
The half-page advertisement, booked for a few lakhs, was splashed in at least three Bengali dailies on Wednesday.
“Those who are shouting anti-national slogans today belong to a tribe of politicians who once said, Yeh aazadi jhuta hain (Our independence is fake) and called Netaji an ‘imperialist agent’ and ‘Tojo’s dog’. We should rise against such forces,” Mukherjee said. He said the forum will soon hold rallies and seminars across Kolkata to raise public awareness on the cause.