Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) Jadavpur University was on the boil on Wednesday as posters appeared in the campus expressing solidarity with students “seeking independence” for Kashmir and demanding ‘freedom’ for Manipur and Nagaland.
The posters, which were pasted a day after slogans eulogising parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru and demands for “azadi” echoed in the prestigious university, were opposed by another section of students who brought out rallies crying “Bharat Mata ki jai”.
“Hum kya chahe, Azadi/Kashmir ki Azadi/Manipur ki Azadi/Nagaland ki Azadi” (We demand independence/Kashmir’s independence/Manipur’s independence/Nagaland’s independence), said one poster.
Another empathised with Afzal Guru and 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon, both of whom have been hanged.
“If the Gujarat mass murderers, those who hanged Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon are patriots, and if the students of Kashmir seeking independence are anti-nationals, then we are all anti-nationals.”
A third poster refered to a quotation of Mao Tse Tung and declared: “We are in favour of freedom fo all oppressed people.”
All the posters were given by a group which called itself “Radical”.
Some of the students took out a rally denouncing the “fascist” Narendra Modi government and decrying the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and the atrocities “brought down” on JNU students by the BJP and other arms of the “Sangh parivar”.
“I don’t think this is a secessionist slogan. If I am an Indian citizen, I have freedom of expression. People of Kashmir are being tortured every day. If they want freedom, I support it. I don’t think this is an anti-national step or slogan,” said Zubi Saha, a member of Radical.
A little later, another group of students carrying the tricolour and shouting “Bharat Mata ki jai” went round the campus and even staged a sit-in outside the university’s administrative building Aurobindo Bhavan.
The group — though small in number — then tore up the pro-Guru, pro-Memon and other posters supporting independence of Manipur and Nagaland and condemned the pro-Guru slogans heard on Tuesday.
Instead, they put up posters condemning the Radicals.
“We are from Jadavpur University. We don’t support anti-nationalists,” a poster said.
Some of them also cried “Pakistan murdabad, Hindustan Zindabad”.
Angry over the tearing of posters, the former group then took out a big rally that went around the campus.
Meanhwile, vice chancellor Suranjan Das claimed certain “fringe elements” had indulged in the pro-Guru sloganeering on Tuesday and called it “insignificant”.
“Some individuals had convened the rally. That rally was not officially convened by the students’ union. They have told me,” Das told the media here.
“I have seen in the media that a large section of students who were present in the rally, including some of the office bearers of the students union, have unequivocally said they have completely disassociated from these anti-national slogans. They are not supporting it,” added Das.
“If in a rally, some fringe elements gave certain slogans, then that is inconsequential. If some fringe elements have given such slogans, then condemning the entire student body and maligning the image of the university is also unexpected and inconsequential.”
The context in which they had rallied was to show solidarity with students nation-wide for the right to express themselves, clarified Das.