Afzal Protest Row: Posters in JU call for freedom for Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland

Afzal Protest Row: Posters in JU call for freedom for Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland

Kolkatta: A day after pro-Afzal Guru slogans were raised in Jadavpur University (JU), posters calling for freedom for Kashmir, Manipur, and Nagaland were found in the campus on Wednesday even as two rival groups of students brought out rallies in the varsity premises.
“Hum kya chahe – Azadi. Kashmir ki Azadi. Manipur ki Azadi. Nagaland ki Azadi (We demand freedom. Kashmir’s freedom. Manipur’s freedom. Nagaland’s freedom),” one of the posters said.
All such posters were signed by a group called ‘RADICAL’.
Both the student unions and authorities have distanced themselves from such posters.
“These are some fringe elements. I met the students union leaders in the morning and they told me that they disassociate themselves with all anti-national slogans,” vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said.
Slogans in favour of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged three years ago, were raised at a rally on Tuesday taken out by JU students to express solidarity with JNU students protesting the arrest of their leader Kanhaiya Kumar for alleged sedition.
Das said he saw some student union leaders also walking in the rally in which pro-Afzal slogans were raised.
“As a vice-chancellor, it is my responsibility to see that the students get their right to protest, their freedom of speech and expression is protected,” he said.
On whether the university would make any police complaint on this issue, he said the question did not arise.
“In university, the police has no role. I will never call police in the campus,” Das said.
Sounak Mukherjee, leader of Forum of Art Students–a students’ union—said the majority view of the students was not reflected in the posters.
“We are against it,” he said.
In the meantime, two opposing groups of students brought out rallies in the campus.
The smaller group shouted slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and voiced their concerns against Tuesday’s torch rally.
They shouted slogans against eulogising Afzal.
As a counter to this, other students also brought out a rally.
The SFI state unit distanced itself from the pro-Afzal Guru slogans, saying they do not support it and the entire student community of JU should not be blamed for such “irresponsible slogans”.
“The SFI is always against terrorism, communalism and divisive forces. It is inappropriate to raise such slogans, which directly or indirectly support terrorism,” Students Federation of India (SFI) state secretary Debojyoti Das said in a statement.
The government of India on Wednesday sought a report from the West Bengal government regarding the JU rally.

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