Union minister Babul Supriyo was on Thursday shown black flags and heckled by a section of students at Jadavpur University, who also stopped him from leaving the campus prompting West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to rush to JU along with a large police force.
The governor, who is the chancellor of the university, too faced demonstrations by the students belonging to Students’ Federation of India, Left leaning Arts Faculty Students’ Union and FETSU and All India Students’ Association, a naxalite sudents wing and a few members of the Trinamool Congress Party university sources said.
They blocked his way and thumped the bonnet of his vehicle as the policemen kept requesting them to withdraw whicle the governor was seen helping Babul Supriyo to the vehicle.
Dhankhar and Babul Supriyo finally left the campus late in the evening hours after university teachers stepped in and persuaded the agitating students to lift their blockade, a spokesman of Jadavpur University Teachers Association said.
Meanwhile, stick-wielding supporters of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad who had held a seminar in the campus during the day which sparked off the unrest at the university, vandalised the room of the Arts Faculty Students Union.
Shouting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, the ABVP supporters were seen setting fire to furniture, computers and ceiling fans of the room and covering the signage outside it with black colour. They even painted ABVP on the wall of the room and burnt tyres before gate number four of JU.
The governor left in his vehicle through gate number three, university sources said.
The trouble began when Babul Supriyo, the union minister for environment, forest and climate change went to JU at around 2.30 pm to address the seminar by ABVP, the students wing of the RSS, at an auditorium inside the campus.
The union minister who was accompanied by Agnimitra Paul, a BJP leader, was initially stopped from entering and was left waiting just inside the gate for around one-and-half hours by the Left students unions, who raised slogans ‘Babul Supriyo Go Back’ and waved black flags at him, varsity sources said.
AFSU leader Debraj Debnath, who participated in the protest, asserted that “fascist forces” will not be allowed in the campus.
“We will not let BJP, RSS or ABVP to spread their ideology in a liberal institute like JU,” he said and maintained that Babul Supriyo had misbehaved wth the agitating students, many of whom were women.
Babul Supriyo told reporters that the TMC government in the state will be held responsible for any eventuality.
“I did not come here to do politics. But I am saddened at the absolutely deplorable behaviour of some of the students of the university — the way they have heckled me… They pulled my hair and also pushed me,” Supriyo, who attended the seminar amid heavy security, said.
He also claimed that the protesters tried to provoke him by “openly referring to themselves as naxals”.
As he prepared to leave after attending the seminar, he faced demonstration by the students again and was stopped.
At one point, he was seen sitting on the bonnet of his car and arguing with the agitating students and gesturing at them as they booed at him. He said he was not intimidated by their actions.
Dhankar said that the “gherao” of the union minister by the students is a very “serious matter” and asked the state chief secretary to take immediate action in the matter.
“The incident is an adverse reflection on the law and force agency in the state,” Dhankhar said.
According to the university sources, JU Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das fell sick during the agitation and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
JUTA spokesman said it is a ‘black day’ in the history of the 64-year-old university.
Any individual has the democratic right to come and participate in a discussion in the university irrespective of his ideology but the entry of police inside the campus and vandalising of students union rooms by outsiders cannot be condoned.
BJP national general secretary and the party’s Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvergiya said the incident is an ample evidence of worsening law and order situation in Bengal.
“In a state where a union minister and governor is not safe, you can very well understand the condition of common people. The TMC government and the police allowed this to happen,” he said.
Extending support to the union minister, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta in a tweet criticised the agitators for creating a “disgraceful scene”.
“Disgraceful scenes in Jadavpur University as pro-naxal students supporting azadi in Kashmir block entry of @SuPriyoBabul. All this happening despite attempt by VC to appeal for calm. This is the state of some of our universities where a small minority flex their muscles,” Dasgupta posted on the micro-blogging site.
Photographs: PTI Photos, ANI Photos
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