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In Pictures: Jadavpur University Shows The Power Of Solidarity, Over 1 Lakh March For Justice!

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By Nishant Chhinkwani:

September 20, 2014 will never be erased from my mind, and the minds of tens of thousands, perhaps even lakhs, of students who braved the elements to join shoulders with the students of Jadavpur University, in solidarity.

Jadavpur University students have been protesting University inaction and high-handedness of the authorities in the investigation of an alleged molestation that happened on the night of August 28, for well over 15 days now. The protests culminated into a sit-in on September 10, when students sat down in agitation against the University authorities demanding for justice. Things took an ugly turn in the early hours of September 17- the students were brutally assaulted both by police and Trinamool goons on the peacefully protesting students. Women protesting there were assaulted and molested, agitating against molestation.

40 students had to be hospitalized, and 38 were arrested!

This gross violation of the democratic rights of the students awoke a rage in the students that the smart phone generation have often been lamented lacking in. A protest march was taken out on September 17 where in over 5,000 students participated, voicing their protest. A twin protest march was carried out on the very next day which saw over 10,000 participants.

Their intention was clear. They wanted justice for the girl in question, an unbiased investigation to be carried out, and the resignation of the Vice Chancellor who had ordered the widely condemned police action on his own students.

The word on the street spread out like wildfire on social media (#hokolorob was trending at the top at one point of time) that a ‘Mahamichil’(Mega Rally) would be taken out on Saturday, September 20, from Nandan cinema complex to Raj Bhavan, where the students would put down their demands to the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the University. The optimists expected 25,000 people, the pessimists predicted 15,000.

On the morning of September 20, 2014, the weather Gods rumbled ominously. Incessant rain started from around 10:30 in the morning and hadn’t relented by the time the rally was scheduled to start. There was a collective fear that maybe the rains would wash out the march. Perhaps, all of us feared that no one would turn up. Or the fact that we would be missing out on that one chance where we all could stand up against oppression on our fellow brethren and issue a strong statement.

Everyone came. Students of different colleges, even schools, teachers, alumni, common folks. Everyone!

Braving the rains, braving the unfavourable elements, to stand up for what’s right and to show the students of Jadavpur University that they do not stand alone.

The official estimate by the police stands at around 60,000 to 1,00,000. Unofficial count suggests that the figure was close to 1,20,000. This has been one of the largest apolitical student marches to be held in recent times in the country. The mood was electric, the voices were loud and clear. Chants of Hok Kolorob tore the skies wide open. The word that students in Delhi had also marched along with us in thousands uplifted the mood even further. The jaws were set. The faces were determined. A stand had to be taken today.

We captured some of those moments.

Protesters in large numbers braving the rains with smiles on their faces.
Times they are a Changing. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Jara Bhoy Pete sikhiyeche, Tomra o ebar bhoy pao; Amaro aachi oder Sanghe EK HOY! (Translation: Those who have taught us to fear, its your turn to be afraid now, we stand with the students of Jadavpur, AS ONE!) Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Students keep walking their talk, despite the heavy rain. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
A sea of multicoloured umbrellas. Pic: Kashya Mitra.
The voice of a protest that doesn’t seem to die down. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
The sheer number of students forced the rally to come to a standstill several times, as latecomers joined in. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Hok Kolorob. Enough Said! Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Hum chheen ke lenge, AZAADI! Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Lathi’r mukh e gaaner suur, dekhiye dilo Jadavpur. (An old favourite: Sing in the face of blows, that is what Jadavpur shows.) Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Maar Khelo Jadavpur, Baitha laglo Baranogore. (Jadavpur got beaten up, we felt the pain in Baranagar) Students from ISI Kolkata, in solidaity. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
United we stand in face of oppression and injustice. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Get up Stand up, Stand up for your right. Get up stand up, Don’t give up the fight. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.

The ‘official’ protest chant.

Saturday’s rally showed me, and all of us who were a part of this momentous event, that we are not as apathetic as we thought we are. We care. The rain didn’t stop us from voicing our dissent against the tyranny of the University officials and the state machinery.

My city came alive. She was strong and confident, and thrumming with energy. She was angry and she wanted answers, instead of being her usual silent, cowering self. She made me fall in love with all over with her again.

I’m a proud Calcuttan today!

Also Read: What The Incidents At The Jadavpur University Mean For The Rest Of Us

Jadavpur University Molestation Case: Students Up In Protest Against Administrative Inaction

In Pictures: Jadavpur University Shows The Power Of Solidarity, Over 1 Lakh March For Justice!

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  1. suman maity

    With all due respect to the author do you know what happen that night. You feel proud to be a calcutan but i am ashamed. In Calcutta each an every thing is connected to politics. And we are bunch of emotional full used by political leaders. That day police did their work but some students who are belongs to certain political group breaks law n order after giving the repeated warning. So what do you want to say if students breaks law n order police should stand n watch?? And their is some political parties who lost their ground theey are trying to coming back with this issues and their are certain media, who are using our emotion to increase their TRP. And i am sure there are so many student who joined in the protest doesn’t know what is happening they just came to click picture for their Facebook profile or they belongs from a certain political party. Friend just tell me one thing why police is their if they don’t have the power to control law n order?? Why they will beat students just like that?? What benefit they or govt will get if they beat students?? Protest is good thing we should protest for our rights but please don’t be used by political drama.

    1. Nirmalendu

      Ashamed??? Are you crazy or TMC? Why are you repeating what our “dear” leaders are saying(and you say we put political color to everything)? The police did its work??? Is police’s work is to beat-up people?
      I do NOT know whether there are outside elements among the protesters (My experience from the years spent in Presidency college says, there were some), But definitely those in uniform were outsiders and should not have been there, not to say should not have done what they have done.
      Do you have an idea what is called “RIGHT”?
      A girl is molested and her fellow college-mates are demanding justice. Where is politics in this?? If you do NOT think this is what we should fight for, what should we fight for then???
      Young people are beaten-up and sent to hospital. If you do NOT think this is what we should fight for, what should we fight for then???
      If you are ashamed, be ashamed because we (unfortunately) live in the place where a woman is molested and in reply when other girls protest, male police comes and beat them up. Be ashamed because of your being a man, because we fail to protect and earn the respect from our women.

      Nirmalendu Acharyya
      Indian Institute of Science

    2. Ishan

      This was no mere peaceful agitation and no absolute police atrocities as claimed to garner public sympathy.
      The way the students were banging on the gates after holding for 12 hours the EC and tempers running high, do u think any kind of reasoning or dialogue was possible?
      Whether vc was right or wrong in calling police at that point is debatable but hooliganism in the name of protests should not be absolutely tolerated..

      This concept of “Gherao” is absolute detrimental.You cant lock up people however just and valid your demands are..there are more effective and better ways..like the solidarity march that happened on 20th could have been done instead.
      You simply cannot forcefully confine someone..period..

      So both parties were wrong unlike now where the blame is given to the police alone.
      The police if gets a call from someone that his life is in danger(which is debatable again) they act..
      When they came to act the students with the same tempers tried to resist..in that melee things went out of hand..
      Now my only question is,in this sequence of events is the police to be only blamed for what happaned ?

      Every opposition political party is taking it as an opportunity and making it anti goverment..they can.. thats what they are supposed to do..

      VC/authority should have acted before, than getting the students agitated..i completely agree..
      BUT
      because your justified demands are not met you lock up people for 12 hours?
      Does that help the cause..? if you use force the other party will also use force to break it..then it goes wrong..

      This is Indian police..when you call them, they act…knowing their training in handling these kind of sensitive situations things are bound to go wrong..
      So best is, do not call them and better do not make a situation where they need to be called..

      Hope good sense prevails in everyone.

      Regards,
      Ishan

  2. Veda Nadendla

    This is heart wrenching. Thank you so much for sharing this. We are in the process of mobilizing funds for expenses at the university. Please continue writing about this so we may bring this to the attention of the whole country.

  3. sneha

    “Hum chheen ke lenge aazadi”
    Fantastic!
    More power to.you!

  4. Santanu Koner

    Why d “gorment” is taking this movement as threat to it?? .. Every Attempt to cease this movement will become as multiplier of it..they cant imazine..

  5. Manisha

    I am so proud of them. Be strong and nurture this fire within yourselves. You will be able to change the world for the better. God luck. God bless.

  6. APVR

    I am sad to see growing incidents of sexual violence in Bengal, where women were treated much more respectfully compared to many other regions of India. The reported disrobing of a student at Shantiniketan, in the land of Gurudev , was unbelievable horror.
    In this context, I congratulate the youth brigade for the “Mahamichi ” I am sure they will take it to its logical conclusion and see that the culprits are brought to book.
    Please restore the old glory and traditions of BENGAL.
    All the best my dear young friends

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