By Krittika Biswas:
The terror that unfolded in the Jadavpur University is something that no student anywhere should ever have to witness. But it wasn’t just witnessed, this terrible yet extremely unnecessary violence claimed too many innocent victims; victims who were innocent college students just trying to take a small step towards making Kolkata a better and safer place for women.
To re-state the story in brief on the night of 28th August during a fest, ten hostel students molested a girl in the JU campus while her boyfriend was beaten up badly. Seeing that the authorities were taking too long to take any action against a crime so heinous, the students of JU decided to take up the matter in their own hands and hold a silent and peaceful protest till proper action was taken against the culprits. What came as an answer to this silent protest was beyond anyone’s imagination. Police and RAF barged in through the college gates and a severe lathi charge followed on the students. Students were slapped, kicked, punched and beaten ruthlessly, with no distinction made between male and female students. Arrests were made and several students were hospitalized, all in the effort to close down a peaceful protest.
Who would support the students of Jadavpur University now?
The result of the meaningless assault by the police wasn’t exactly as they had expected. Instead of the protest closing down, it just became bigger, spread wider, and spirits and resolutions became stronger. Now along with immediate action against those ten, the students also demanded the immediate resignation of the Vice Chancellor. Support started pouring in from all other colleges in Kolkata, and soon from all over India. It had become a mass student movement now, because now it’s not just about that one girl, or about the JU students who started the process. It was now about all of us, about every student who had faced injustice of some form from college authorities, about everyone who could not speak up against crimes committed on them before, and most importantly it was now about ensuring something like this never ever happens again, that people in authority think twice before misusing the power given to them, it has now become a revolution of some sort and it is important for each of us as individuals to be present and be a part of the change.
In the Indian culture, we are taught that teachers and professors deserve the same respect as parents, but we weren’t taught how to respect any individual(s) who could ruthlessly turn against us and manhandle us in whatever way possible to save his/her own skin. We were not taught this as children, as such individuals do not deserve respect, they don’t deserve anything but utmost abhorrence. Respect is earned not demanded.
If we raise our voices as students as a whole against this terrible act of injustice, we, the non-JU students can indirectly make our own colleges a bit more student friendly. Maybe our own college authorities will understand that a teacher-student relationship is a nurturing and caring one, not one that induces terror; and if all else fails, maybe we will just sleep a bit better at night knowing that we did more than sitting cribbing about the matter, and updating pointless statuses on Facebook.
“Pashe Achi Jadavpur” (With you Jadavpur, throughout)
-Students of IIEST, Shibpur