Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) Amid the row over anti-India slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, slogans eulogising parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru and demands for “azadi” echoed in Jadavpur University here on Tuesday.
Slogans like “Afzal bole azadi, jab tum na doge azadi, to cheen lenge azadi, arey cheen ke lenge azadi” were heard during a torchlight procession brought out at Jadavpur University in protest against the “atrocities” perpetrated on JNU students by the Narendra Modi government.
They also raised slogans chanting the names of S.A.R. Geelani, a former professor of Delhi University who was arrested on Tuesday for raising anti-India slogans at the Press Club in Delhi.
Another slogan heard was “Jo ishrat ne manga, azadi/Jo Manipur mange azadi/To Cheen ke lenge, azadi”.
The rally, convened by students unions of the three faculties — science, arts and engineering — of Jadavpur University in the campus, was well attended.
The students also spoke out against the arrest of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, and the “ill-treatment” meted out to Hyderabad University Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula that “forced him to take his own life”.
All India Students Association (AISA) leader Anumita Mitra justified the slogans saying these only questioned the lack of transparency in Afzal’s trial and his subsequent death penalty.
“The slogans demand azadi from making Indian laws like khap panchayat.
“If slogans protesting against the branding of scholars like Rohith Vemula as anti-national and terrorist by the Modi government for challenging cast exploitation are anti-national, then we are all anti-nationals,” said Mitra, a third year student.
However, Nirjhar Mukhopadhay, another student leader who was at the forefront of the rally, blamed “some fringe elements” for the slogans raised supporting Afzal Guru and Geelani.
“Various types of people are present at rallies. Some fringe elements gave these slogans. But that does not reflect the stand of the majority of students. They don’t reflect my opinion.”
But he admitted that he had said: “Kashmir mange azadi/Manipur mange azadi”.
“Please let me tell you in what context I have said that. We all love our country. ‘Azadi’ for us signifies freedom from atrocities, atrocities of the Modi government, and freedom from intolerance,” he added.
In a separate statement, the Students Federation of India opposed the slogans, saying “such slogans should not be raised from processions of students which directly or indirectly support any act of terrorism or a terrorist”.
“At a time efforts are on to peddle a fundamentalist brand of nationalist across the country, and brign about communal polarisation, and undermine left student politics, such irresponsible acts will strengthen the hands of the fascist forces. And harm the ongoing movements.”
“SFI is determined to oppose secessionism, communalism, as also fundamentalist brand of nationalism and efforts at communal polarisation,” said SFI president Maadhuja Sen Roy.