From Jadavpur University, Kolkata – ‘I am, one of those survivors, who has experienced a nightmare last night’: Tanumay Naskar 


Guest Post by TANUMAY NASKAR

[ This is an account of the events of last night in Jadavpur University, Kolkata, were students sitting in on a peaceful protest against university authorities inaction on a recent complaint of sexual harrassment. What followed (an attack from two fronts, by police and goons affiliated to the Trinamool Congress) brought back memories of the many times that students have been attacked mercilessly in JU. Currently, around 40 students have had to receive medical attention, and 38 are in police detention. Protests against this event are being organized today in Kolkata (at 4:00 in the afternoon, at Jadavpur University, and at 6:00 PM at JNU in Delhi, by the JNU Students Union]

Follow this link to read a detailed time-line of the events as they unfolded.

Follow this hashtag – ‪#‎hokkolorob‬ for details of how people are responding to the situation.

 

I am one of those survivors who has experienced a nightmare last night.
We were singing. We were dancing. We were peacefully protesting. 
When someone yelled, “Let’s make the barricades, the police is coming”. 
After that, we saw police (READ GOONS) of grade A, barred all the entrances and charged us with Lathis.

They molested our fellow female students, they walked on them to get our ‘RESPECTED’ VC out. And when we tried to stop those goons from molesting our fellow female students, we were kicked in the stomachs, dragged out of Aurobindo Bhavan and while all of these was happening, the LIGHTS of the AUROBINDO BHAVAN were suddenly put out and our ‘RESPECTED’ VC walked on girls to get his smart-ass out of the campus.

(ABP TV footage of the Police and TMC goons attacking students in Jadavpur University – from the ABP TV Youtube Channel)

The goons were not done yet, now the blood-sport took place in front of Aurobindo Bhavan, where they dragged us and tried to take us out to arrest us. 
Then they started to manhandle us.
I was dragged out of Aurobindo Bhavan, while being kicked at my stomach constantly. Then, I was dragged till in front of Aurobindo Bhavan, I tried to snatch two of my friends from those hooligans, but I was kicked on my RIB CAGE with heavy boots and then while I was down, they squashed my left foot.
My friends were beaten to pulp, they were molested, they were almost got killed. Friends from the Engineering department are severely injured, they’re at KPC Medical Hospital and those who were taken into custody were released today. I urge all people, to visit KPC hospitals with some donations so that our friends can be taken care of properly. I was minimally injured, but I delayed my medical check up because, while I was sitting at the Aurobindo Bhavan, my friends were at the LaalBazar Police Station.
There will be a march from Jadavpur University, today from 4:00. 
Be there! 
Because, today it was Jadavpur University, tomorrow it’ll be your lane, your mahalla, your village, your bus root, your rail station.

29 thoughts on “From Jadavpur University, Kolkata – ‘I am, one of those survivors, who has experienced a nightmare last night’: Tanumay Naskar 
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  1. I don’t see any solution in the near future. The WB police are as corrupt as they always were – since the days of Raj. Even the long left regime could not change them (did they try?). The left intelligentsia is mum and cowered! None of them has the guts and personality to challenge the thieves and goons – come what may. The lumpen youth are being provided with cash, weapons and many other things (e.g., license to extort) – except education. The state police are openly supporting the goondas of the ruling party. And, in the center we have a ruling party that – as always has been the case – wants to see all honest, progressive movements crushed. Dark days.

    1. I think the fact that you see spirited and enthusiastic protest from very young people in Jadavpur means that the days are not that dark. Despondency contributes to darkness. Stand with the students, spread the word.

      1. Shuddhabrata: Point taken. But the reason for my pessimism is – you know – my father and uncle(s) used to say 50 years ago – “shawb shala chor (all of them are thieves – for those who do not understand Bengali )”. Has our nation changed much after these 50 long years?

    2. This protest should lead to a even larger protest by common people to demand for the resignation of the megalomaniac and corrupt CM .

  2. Maybe I am too Naive to understand this……… or plain outright stupid…… I just saw the video (You posted)! I did not see the police using any Sticks (lathis) or guns……. I infact saw a woman try to grab/Jab at one of the men (possiby a Police officer/TMC goon as you would say!).
    I also see the entrance of the building locked up (probably because of the protest right outside). I Also see the protestors pushing back at the officers (one of them is seen calling out to more of his colleagues).

    Some how I fail to see how loud sloganeering and (possibly blocking the entrance of a building) in the night not breaking the law? and in which country do you think you can get away with police doing “nothing”, in a situation like this, If you have rights …………… so does everyone else!!

    1. They were protesting, fighting for a just cause. In which country is fighting for one’s rights considered a crime and requires the police to beat them up in the middle of the night? Not in a democracy. How were the students trampling on anyone’s rights by asking for their own? They were sitting on a dharna. Is it undemocratic? Why did the administration decide to call the police instead of talking to the students? I’ve not seen this video, I cannot do that from my phone, but I’ve seen plenty of other footage available in the media and in each of them female students are being dragged by goons/police, being hit in the stomach, kicked on.

    2. Tanmoy, two additional youtube video clips from ABP news are now embedded in the post. They clearly show the students, young men, and women, being attacked, by the Police (in uniform) , and by some men in civilian clothes.

    3. Tanmoy, we had police in civil dress, police in white and blue tees and chappals. We had goons backed by the ruling party wearing white/blue tees too. The people you are confusing as students are not students. In fact, in all the footages that I have seen till now (which is a whole lot of videos), nowhere did I see anyone amongst us, students attacking/assaulting/even retaliating when they were getting thrashed, slammed, molested, pushed, shoved, etc.

  3. Either I must get my eye sight corrected or may be I should only watch the channel that Mr. Tanmoy prefers to watch (which one is that please? Saradha channels have closed down – to the best of my knowledge). ABP channel showed well-built men wearing T-shirts punching, slapping and kicking young students – girls included. Oh – may be they were the “subodh – susheel balaks” of the neighbourhood! Also the lights were switched off. That the bulbs were broken is such a poor lie that even a child will laugh at it. Were the students using hand made bombs or using pipe guns as they used to do during late 60s and early 70s? No! Gheraos were always there in the history of students and labor union movement everywhere. But this inhuman reaction of the state inside a university campus! Can’t find a parallel. By the way – head that the education minister of WB said – “the students should behave as students and not get involved in ‘un-student’ like activities”. I guess he was an exemplary student during his school and college days and never a member of the students’ wing of any political party! Will Tanmoy babu please throw some light on it? I am also glad that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is not a student in Bengal now. He behaved in a very “un-student” like manner in Presidency College, didn’t he?

  4. Look at American Universities . Full of protest and dissent. But they NEVER “Night Gherao” their respective Univ.’s Presidents of Chancellors.

    A Night-Gherao of VC or in other words “Forceful Confinement of VC” is “peaceful” as per our left wing friends.

    Forced detention has met with Force. Period.

      1. Dipayan: Where do you live – America or India? Also, it is not a question of left wing or right wing – it is a question of rights and demands. By the way, do the American political parties appoint their stooges as VCs?

    1. Dipayan, just because you think something does not happen in the American universities of your imagination does not mean that it should not happen in Jadavpur. But that aside, the tradition of ‘Night Occupation’ of the offices of high officials of universities (including people of equivalent rank of presidents and vice chancellors / chancellors) has a history going back at least to 1968 in US universities. The students of Columbia University detained the dean and the president in his office for more than 24 hours during the student take over of the university in 1968. Night ‘teach ins’ in protest by faculty against the Vietnam War began in the University of Michigan, again in 1968. Student and worker protests all over the world have regularly featured peaceful ‘night gheraos’ of schools, colleges, universities, factories. In this case, the students of Jadavpur had a perfectly reasonable demand, that the VC of the University make a statement on the way in which a student had been assaulted, and announce an inquiry. He refused to do so. His inaction is actually illegal, given the current prevailing sexual harrassment codes, in the wake of what is called the ‘Vishakha Judgement’. Had he acted reasonably, there would not have been a night gherao. His eagerness to please his political masters is going to prove to be very costly.

      1. Come on Shudhabrata, let’s not get emotional here.How can you compare the issue of Vietnam war with what happened on Jadavpur campus. I have been following this right from the start of the issue. What happened is not new. I t has been happening for at least the last 46 years since I first went there as a student in 1968. Instead of asking the vice chancellor to resign etc, they should have asked him to put some more flood lights on campus and more security in the night. I scanned the uploaded videos many times and did not see uniformed police doing anything more than pushing some people away or grabbing some people to make them stop fighting. I did see scuffle between groups of people and girls falling down but none were in uniform. It appears to me a fight between rival political parties and was reported as such in some Calcutta newspapers. University is a place of learning, not a place for full blown political fight. We learned it the hard way. Some of the Naxal leaders were from my class and they all retired after a very successful career now, many admitted that it was all a big mistake then. But we all lost one full year. Instead of 5 years, we spent six years to get our degrees and some, not so lucky ones, lost their entire life in the short period of turbulence. Students be ware. I am not suggesting that you do not participate in politics. But don’t let it ruin your chance of becoming a great engineer, or a great teacher or a great political analyst or a great lawyer. You will make a better politician if you complete your studies first. It is a great privilege to be able to get admitted to Jadavpur university. Don’t misuse that privilege by indulging people and inviting them into your own disagreements on campus who are not able to earn that right on their own.

  5. More than 5000 students from Jadavpur (including a huge chunk from Presidency, and students from Medical College and Asutosh College) walked from JU to Golpark and back yesterday… We shouted out our protest, we walked banner-less, our message was LOUD and CLEAR- NO to institutional repression and brutality! NO to autocracy! NO to political bullying!

    After a long, long time, I felt myself overwhelmed by a feeling of exhilaration… Within apathy-ridden West Bengal and Kolkata, where hypocrisy and indifference seem to have become characteristic of the middle-class who have mastered the act of ‘looking the other way’, yesterday showed me the strength that lies in students’ voices… an unadulterated feeling of outrage at the brutality unleashed upon the students gripped these 5000 plus people who walked… people united by a collective feeling of exasperation, helplessness, outrage and anger at the utter collapse of democracy and at the unabashed proliferation of autocracy everywhere…

    YES, there is still hope!

  6. horrible to see this kind of nightmare at jadavpur we r filling same s a human …. this is our lovble city wahhh clap we have to fight against total system……….

  7. Police, to be read as GUNDAS ?
    And Students are Angels here !
    I dont see anything , ANYTHING , sensible done by the students here.

    1. It is not a way to protest , blocking someone from going home.
    2. hundreds gathering around few people is NOT indicative of a peaceful talk
    3. Preventing police to do their duty.
    IF THE STUDENTS REALLY WANTED THIS TO SORT OUT , THEY COULD LET VC GO , AND THEY SITTING THERE AWAITING HIM NEXT MORNING or for n NUMBER OF DAYS TILL THEY GET THEIR ANSWER. THAT could be a peaceful protest. Or do something like hunger strike !
    4. And… wah.. I must say…what a drama enactment to show police as goons here ? Girls stand in way and someone has to push them , its molestation.. right ?
    This is as parallel as any militant or terrorist groups women and children to carry weapons or bombs !
    WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE ABUSED by protesters here.
    5. And hey…if someone is hit and down…. you make all group clear and turn his/her face for camera…and act weeping over that person!! Great performances!!

    India is not being ruled by corrupt politicians or officials but by this kind of amateurish and irresponsible students , who ofcourse study in equally irresponsible universities run by people who earlier studied and graduated in similar conditions!
    This is not the way an educated person should be…one should have minimum commom sense.

    1. Dear Dingichaka Meursault

      i have been trying to acquire minimum commom sense all my life. And in the process, I have learnt, that a university vice chancellor who refuses to listen to the legitimate demands of his students concerning their safety and security has to occasionally be kept peacefully in his office until he listens to reason. And the number of people who keep him peacefully in his office, while singing, playing a saxophone, guitars and violins, is an indication of their peaceful strength.

    2. ‘IF THE STUDENTS REALLY WANTED THIS TO SORT OUT , THEY COULD LET VC GO , AND THEY SITTING THERE AWAITING HIM NEXT MORNING or for n NUMBER OF DAYS TILL THEY GET THEIR ANSWER. THAT could be a peaceful protest.’
      We tried that for over a week. The VC did not care. He said it hurt his dignity to address the student body, and threatened to use force in advent of a gherao, when a gherao was furthest from people’s minds.

      As for a hunger strike, forgive us if we do not have the mettle of an Irom Sharmila. It does not mean we lack clarity or passion or a sense of fairness.

      Also, I find your support of the police slightly frightening. The girls themselves decided to form a barricade, they were not manipulated into doing so. And they were not merely shoved aside, they were thrown to the ground and trampled, groped and hurled abuses at.

      This isn’t about the students’ good sense. It’s about realising that the extent of force used was extremely, shockingly disporportionate and deserves the strongest condemnation.

  8. The state of affairs in Bengal is pathetic; the attitude of those in power terrible. Anyone with any link with the ruling party, even a most minor one, is a law unto himself.

    I marched for some distance with the protesting students today. It was very encouraging to see the young brigade shout out for their rights against the atrocities. The slogans being cried out were so relevant & meaningful, something like, “Aaye re Police dekhe jaa, Jadavpur-er khomota.” (Come Police, take a look – at the strength of Jadavpur University students.) really sticks by me.

    Power, in our country, is unfortunately always concentrated in the hands of people with goons. Alas! A show of strength by the real hard-working, meaningful & driving forces of society is what is most certainly in order for the creeps to be shown their true place. Bravo, i say to the JU students & their supporters! This time, do not stop with small consolations. Just go all the way & absolutely crush the very dirty spirits & the misplaced sense of identities that some of these narcissists in power & all the rest of the creeps belonging to the ruling party so erroneously possess.

    The people next door & walking on the streets are totally with you in this. Just go absolutely all the way. Jai Ho. #Hokkolorob.

  9. Is there no law in WB for sexual harassment?Whether any process for bringing to book the culprits initiated? is the protest by the students the ONLY recourse to settle all such issues of law and dis- order?Whether disorder lead to order or more disorder?lastly can we name 5 such universities outside INDIA where currently the students have taken such issues through protest- for resolution by the Govt?

  10. @Meursault: Compared to what I have seen in the 60s and 70s (I am not going into the good and bad of those days though), I can only say that what the students did here was really a child’s play. At the end of all this – I must say, you seem to live in a country (India?) that is far from the India I experience (and have experienced for 64 years) day in and day out. Would you please give us the coordinates of that “India” of yours?

  11. @Madhava: There are laws against sexual harassment in WB as they are in the other states. The law – in the India I know – works mostly in favour of those who are either moneyed or well connected or wield political power. Yes – in “every” Indian state (like it or not). Have you ever read about the suicides (unless they are murdered that is) committed by so many sexually harassed women (sometimes even at the level of lecturers / professors / research-associates in the universities) in the various states of our country?

  12. You know, since this incident happened I have been wondering how the families – especially teenage/ young children – of these high ranking police officers react. I got my answer yesterday, when I saw a “friend” who is a JU alumni too, squarely support her father and brother (both high ranking police officers in WB) – on the pretext that the police merely supported the acts because of political pressures. I had to remind my friend that she was at least agreeing to the fact that there was police brutality! And that was of course capped by the Police Comm declaring they did not do “anything” :) So I am left wondering, do we never take action till the fight comes, as you say, to our own backyard, our own alley? It is a case of if now, when?

    Job seekers have left this state long back…. Looks like even the long established towers of Education are on the verge of collapse as well!

  13. @ Madhava: There is a due process to be followed in the case of complaints of sexual harassment, even in West Bengal. The students wanted the VC to issue a statement saying he would do so. This statement is yet to be issued. And the students did stage a sit-in, allowing the VC full liberty to enter and exit as he pleased, for seven days. It is difficult to understand why a man should find himself unable to state that he would follow due process for more than seven days. I do not support gheraos on principal; but this man has proved himself to be an incompetent administrator who has no business running a university, or indeed anything else. Administrators are meant to solve problems, not create them by refusing to do what they should anyway be doing as a part of their duties.

  14. As a past student of both Presidency College and Jadavpur University, I stand by you in spirit against the police atrocities that were unleashed on guitar-toting, peaceful student protesters. Though I live in the USA now, my soul connection with Kolkata remains intact to this day. I am really outraged and appalled by the deteriorating law and order situation in Kolkata. Witnessing the undaunted students stand their ground against police brutality leads me to hope that we will regain the lost paradise of the city that we love so dearly. The night is the darkest before dawn, and it is reassuring to see the first glimmer of light piercing the skies of Kolkata that has lately been eclipsed by the insidious powers of darkness. I join you in shouting, ‘hok Kolorob!!”

  15. It is time to open mouth .
    It is time to wake up north to south.
    We have to be aware about our right.
    To get it we can also fight.
    Those who attack on innocent.
    They must have an imprisonment .

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