May 15, 2016

Jadavpur University Targeted Yet Again by Saffron Brigade

Santwan Chattopadhyay

JADAVPUR University, one of the most acclaimed academic institutions of the country, has once again been the target of the saffron brigade. The incident flared up with the screening of Vivek Agnihotri's film "Buddha in a Traffic Jam" at Jadavpur University campus on May 6, 2016. The permission of screening was cancelled by the Hall authority due to the ongoing election process. The rightist force with the banner of ABVP entered into the campus and started screening the said documentary without the permission of the authorities with the help of muscle flexing of the outsiders. It is beyond doubt that it was the agenda of the saffron brigade to attack Jadavpur University once again and that is why they selected the campus for screening the anti-Communist, hyper nationalist documentary despite their organisational absence in the campus.

The students of the university unequivocally made it clear that the saffron divisive elements are not welcome in the campus. They raised slogans against hyper nationalism, Hindutva and fascism; they showed black flag to the director. A section of the students started screening the documentary "Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki Hai” which is based on the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh which witnessed a number of deaths. The situation became turbulent with both the sections shouting slogans.

The students of the university complained of an attack on them by the outsiders assembled under the banner of ABVP; some girl students have complained of molestation from the said gathering. The students identified four from the gang and handed them over to the authorities.  The university authorities have filed a police complaint against four outsiders for allegedly molesting students within the university.

The BJP leaders soon appeared on the scene to rescue the outsiders who were caught red handed. They tried to enter into the campus. There were a lot of provocation by the saffron brigade but the authorities handled the situation successfully and put a check to the scheme of disruption in the university.

Two days later, ABVP organised a rally to ‘protest’ alleged ‘roughing up’ of their workers at Jadavpur University. Expectedly they did not pay any heed to the charge of molestation against their followers, who entered into the campus although being outsiders in the name of screening documentary. The vice chancellor of Jadavpur University requested for keeping normalcy in the campus as there were a number of pre-scheduled examinations. But the rally turned disorderly and they fiercely attempted to break through police barricades in order to rush into the campus. The police administration handled the situation to prevent any further disorder. The students of the university were present in the university, demonstrated and shouted slogans against saffron attack on the university. ABVP leaders openly threatened to “chop off the legs of the university students” if they stepped out of the campus.

The governor of the state who also happens to be the chancellor of the university has said that Jadavpur University is a "Centre of disturbance" and not a "Centre of excellence" but he has completely overlooked the attack on the university students by the outsiders within the campus. Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) has strongly condemned the consistent and continuous attempts by outside political forces, such as BJP and RSS, to descend on the university and disrupt its academic ambience for narrow political gains. With grave consternation, JUTA also noted that it is unfortunate that the chancellor chose not to uphold the reputation of the university in face of adversity but issued a statement that can at best be considered political in nature.

In their own way, the TMC and their supremo Mamata Banerjee who still holds the chair of chief minister has not uttered a single word against the incident. Since February this is a second concerted effort of the Hindutva fundamentalists to target the university.

There has been a constant hate campaign against Jadavpur University as the rightists attack the fabric of open thinking of this reputed knowledge campus. Jadavpur University which actually emerged from the anti-colonial nationalist movement has been the prime target of the saffron brigade after the University of Hyderabad and Jawaharlal Nehru University in their agenda of saffronisation of educational sphere of the country. And according to their own methodology they are stamping the students as ‘anti-nationalist’. By that they not only defame the students but by this vicious attempt they want to illegitimate the high acclaims of this university, the socio-cultural achievements of the university and its great heritage. 

People from all walks of lives are taking part in the protest against parochial nationalism of the saffron brigade. The rallies condemning attack on Jadavpur University are only increasing. Almost all the secular and democratic forces of the state have raised their voice against the attack. Students and alumnus of the university have convened a rally against the planned attack on Jadavpur University. Teachers, non-teaching members and students of Jadavpur University and other institutions will organise a joint rally on May 12 with the spirit to resist the parochial nationalist and fascistic mechanisms of controlling education sphere. The democratic-secular spirit of Bengal has kept the battle on.