On Thursday, 18th September, the city of Kolkata witnessed the strength of the student community as thousands of aggrieved students took to the streets to protest against the police brutality that had taken place the previous night, in the campus of Jadavpur University (a well-reputed college in Kolkata, West Bengal). So what was the actual incident that led to these protests?
On the night of 28th August, a girl was molested inside the college premises by a group of the hostel students while her friend was beaten up by them. On demanding the college authority to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, the students were shocked by the authority’s nonchalant attitude towards the entire situation which also raised a question on the safety of the students in the college area. This lack of concern on the part of the college gave rise to a dispute between the students and the authority that ultimately resulted in the vice chancellor being “gherao” by the students who then demanded that necessary action be taken immediately against the culprits.
According to sources, the “gherao” extended till late night, following which the police had to step in to bring the situation under control. What happened next is pretty grotesque. Although the policemen had assured the students that they would not be harmed in any way, the scenario completely took a horrible turn later that night. The students claimed that a “lathi charge” was carried out by the police whereby the students – male and female – were brutally beaten up. Their clothes were torn away and flower pots were hurled at them. Worse still, the police was not alone in this act of brutality which also included the support of few other men, later recognized as Trinamool Congress(TMC) party goons. None of the students were spared from the shower of kicks and blows and punches, not to speak of the filthy verbal abuse. The fact that the female students got their clothes torn by the policemen clearly reveals how one got molested for protesting against molestation.
All of this brutality continued till late night until a few students lost consciousness and had to be rushed to the hospital. Nearly 35 students were arrested that night including a girl. And the irony of the entire incident lies in the fact that all of this came from them whom we are supposed to look up to in times of trouble! However, when interrogated by the media, the Vice Chancellor had an entire different story to narrate. According to him, it weren’t the students who got beaten up by the policemen armed with “lathis”…it was in fact the other way round! Sadly, the video footage uploaded in various social media platforms clearly does not support his words.
The protest march on 18th September was a response to the above acts of total savagery. “Pulish joto maarbe, michhil toto baarbe” (the more the policemen beat us, the more the number of protesters joining the march for justice will rise), “hok kolorob” (let the voices of justice echo) read the slogans as more than 6000 people, belonging to various colleges of Kolkata marched, shoulder to shoulder, shouting for justice. The heat of protest was not simply confined within the boundaries of Kolkata as students of JNU; Delhi also expressed their discontentment by resorting to a number of activities such as effigy burning, in support of the students of JU. And the motive of such protests? To send across a simple yet strong message – although the act of brutality was carried out on students of one particular university, it has enraged the entire student community who now demands a change in the college authority that will further ensure that such atrocious acts do not take place in the future.
Video of Protest:
[author image=”http://www.aapkatimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/pic001.jpg” ]I’m Samragyie Bose, a student of Sociology in St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. I love to write because it renders a voice to the person living inside my head! Also, I’m an occasional reader and I seem to have an unexplainable fascination for horror movies! 🙂 [/author]