Kolkata Police lathi-charged Jadavpur University students and the BJP protestors, as the two groups came close to a clash at Sulekha More, in South Kolkata. “The deputy commissioner of Kolkata Police present on the spot publicly apologized to the students soon after, stating there were no orders to use batons and that it happened too suddenly.” – NDTV report.
Protests had ensued within the JU campus since Monday afternoon, as students showed their solidarity with injured JNU students, who had been attacked by a mob of goons on 5th Jan. In Kolkata, the situation turned heated after JU students got the news that ABVP members were planning a rally to the Jadavpur police station, past the university campus.
The students charged on to Sulekha More about 500 meters from campus, to stop the demonstration by BJP members. The students were barricaded, so as to avoid any serious altercation, and the JU students went on to burn a BJP flag, as police tried to control the situation.
In retaliation to this, the BJP members burnt a CPI (M) flag and the Jadavpur University students set yet another BJP flag on fire. As this was happening, students began to push forward against the barricades, and police resorted to lathi-charge.
According to NDTV, “at least a dozen students were hurt in the lathi-charge. The women students said policemen had beaten them up mercilessly. Kolkata Police tweeted what appeared to be an apology to the students shortly after the incident.” The police had stopped BJP members from marching past Jadavpur University, and the Jadavpur University students marched up to the Sulekha trijunction to stop the BJP march.
“Kolkata Police is making all efforts to cooperate with students & law-abiding citizens to maintain peace. Senior Officers are in the Jadavpur area to help you. In case of any assistance or complaints please contact us immediately. Kolkata police are with you, now and always,” the Kolkata Police tweeted after Lathi-charging the protesting students at the Jadavpur University.
The Modi Government is facing unprecedented criticism from across the country. The opposition parties have hit out at the BJP-led government at the centre and blamed it for the brutal attack on the JNU students and teachers.
Meanwhile, Smriti Irani told the reporters, “I had said it earlier and reiterating it now that educational institutions should not be made rajneeti ka akhada (battlefield for politics) as it affects the life and progress of our students.”
People from civil society, students, and teachers in Lucknow also joined the protest earlier, in solidarity with JNU students, and teachers. Several Bollywood celebrities, including Anurag Kashyap, Anubhav Sinha, Tapsee Pannu, Zoya Akhtar, Diya Mirza, and Rahul Bose have also come out in support of and condemned the attack on JNU students and teachers.
According to recent reports from Scroll.in, the police have apologised for lathi-charging the students of Jadavpur University and alleged that it was a misunderstanding.
Kolkata Police Deputy Commissioner Sudip Sarkar said, “We had no intention to use batons on them.” Sarkar also apologized to the students for attacking them. “There was some lathi-charge only when we were chasing the BJP workers in a bid to disperse them from the spot. During this, some students were caught up in the scene and got beaten up.”
However, JU students demanded action and filed a complaint against the police, according to Scroll.in. “We have been beaten up without any reason. The BJP workers threw stones at us and we only protested. The police stopped us and even used batons on girl students. We want an apology from them,” said a JU student.
The students finally lifted their protest late in the evening and held an agitation outside Jadavpur police station.
Image Credits: ANI