A week after pro-Azfal and pro-Geelani slogans rented the air in Jadavpur University, students of the varsity took out another rally in support of JNU students on Tuesday evening. This time, however, the slogans were toned down and uttered with caution.
“We want to tell the world that we support JNU students. Through this rally, we would also like to lodge our protest against fascist forces such as the RSS and ABVP which are creating havoc across various campuses across the country,” Shromon Guha, the general secretary of the Forum for Arts Students (FAS), said.
“While we support freedom of speech and expression, we are not endorsing the controversial slogans raised during the rally held last week. I have written all the slogans and want the participants not to deviate,” Shounak Mukhopadhyay, a first-year MA student, said before Tuesday’s rally.
Trouble in JU began on February 16 when students organised a rally in support of JNU and shouted anti-national slogans. The next day, a section of students justified the slogans and even put up posters in support of independent Kashmir and Afzal Guru. “Last time, we did not intend this to happen. It was an open rally in support of JNU students. We really have no idea why some students shouted anti-India slogans. Although we are not responsible for that, we cannot avoid responsibility,” Mukhopadhyay added.
On February 18, ABVP supporters stormed the campus and went on a rampage. Not only anti-national posters, ABVP supporters tore all pro-JNU posters and all those supporting Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula.
“We were shocked the way ABVP supporters stor med the university. Our institution believes in freedom of speech and expression. If our students are wrong, we will discuss the matter with them but not with anyone who threatens us. The teachers are with the students,” Nilanjana Gupta, general secretary of Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association, said.