On September 19, 2019, ABVP had their freshers’ event scheduled and they invited the Union Minister Babul Supriyo and Agnimitra Paul without informing the university administration. As a matter of fact, both of them were ready to come down as Jadavpur is still that place where democrats takes birth every minute and is thus a target area for right wing fascists. They would definitely not leave a chance to put up a show to manipulate people to follow their ideology.
The students who identify as the Left Front, as well as students who do not identify themselves under the banner of any political party, including students from other universities gathered for a democratic demonstration of protest against the various fascist ideas that the BJP, ABVP and the RSS follow and is trying hard to inject the same among the masses. Both Babul Supriyo and Agnimitra Paul came without informing the West Bengal state government or even the university administration on an official level. The Left Front student organizations and everyone else, apart from the cadre of the ABVP on getting the information about their arrival, decided to barricade him and they did it in a constitutional way to show resistance.
But, students and goons from the ABVP kept agitating the other party. Meanwhile, on a discussion with the students, this Union Minister catches hold of a student’s t-shirt like some colony goon and when the student protested vehemently, he takes up other unconstitutional moves like slapping students, and making derogatory statements like “let’s go inside a room if you want to know who I am,” and then exhibits all kinds of melodrama. One of his bodyguards was armed, and allegedly hit students. On this level, he was totally barricaded and the protestors requested him to apologise.
He passed abusive comments instead of apologising and threatened the guards of the university that he would remove them from their jobs right away if they tried to intervene. This is just not done. He called the Vice-Chancellor out, and threatened him too, just because he was not received. The VC revealed that he was not even invited in the program that he just attended; he was allowed inside the seminar hall, but not made aware that he would be coming for just a freshers’ program. The minister then ordered the VC to get him water after insulting him left, right and centre in front of everyone!
In between, goons threw acid bulbs and pelted stones at the students. Then, some 100-150 people came down randomly and started breaking university amenities, ransacking departments, union rooms, and also beat up everyone they found protesting. Burnt phones, laptops, cycles, motorcycles, etc. collected in front of Gate No. 4 of the university.
An independent journalist named Subhasish Das who was documenting the whole event since morning, had his head broken, his camera snatched, and was left in trauma. He sought help from the police, who were present in ample number, but to no avail. He got beaten up in front of the police who are supposed to protect the public. And here, an independent journalist who hardly harassed anyone got thrashed in front of their eyes, but they did nothing. While the students were trying to get him to the hospital, another student named Pawan Shukla, who was simply walking in from Gate No. 4, got badly beaten up as well.
It is heart breaking to even experience such a sight but unfortunately, I was a live witness to the whole event trying my best to document the happenings. The governor of the state came to rescue Babul Supriyo and Agnimitra Paul, and he too passed statements like he will see to it that the VC is signed off from the post and other derogatory things against the protestors. Later that night, a General Body meeting was held and a decision was drawn to walk the streets in protest of such unconstitutional and absolute vandalism inside an educational institution.
We waited in the campus thereafter because it was already too late by then and streets were blocked since the evening, making it tough for the commoners to take public transport and reach home. Meanwhile, a couple of students were trying to get some food, and find ways of getting home when we received news of goons grabbing hold of a woman student inside an ATM hitting her to the point of injury, along with two boys were beaten up and their arms broken.
A woman who was returning from office and got stuck in the mess of burning things. The people outside attempted to shoot a video while they harassed her and tried to snatch her phone away, but the women civic police did help her get away, though she was hit too. This continued through the night but those outside never took the fight openly.
Later, the next day around 4 pm, as was decided in the GB meeting, thousands gathered to protest against such heinous acts being sanctioned by the fascist government. The protest was another version of #HokKolorob that took place in 2014 on the same day, September 20. The protest was loud and clear in saying that the Bengalis are not in support of the NRC, and other fascist decisions made by this government. Those who walked the streets in protest included eminent personalities, ex-students, students of other universities, activists and democrats. They shouted out their dissent as slogans against the government trying to make India a Hindu rashtra and impose other unnecessary things on its citizens.
There was solidarity for Kashmir, the streets were lit with “Azaadi” (freedom) slogans and it was indeed a sight to behold. No wonder, this constitutional rally got the fascists agitated and a minister of the BJP government stated he will hold a surgical strike soon over Jadavpur and doubted the students of Jadavpur being involved in illegal trade. Such are ours ministers, the protectors of our Constitution!
Now that they have realised that people will still unite against bullets to unmask them, they are going to the protestors’ houses and individually forcing them to apologise and harassing their family! It is on behalf of the protestors that a call is given out to everyone who identifies against the fascist government to unite and flush out these terrible people in power.