The RSS’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has been yet again accused of attacking and beating up students, this time in West Bengal’s Visva Bharati University. On the evening of January 15, at around 10 PM, students and outsiders allegedly affiliated with the ABVP attacked some students in the campus. Two students, Swapnanil Mukherjee of the Economics Department and Debobrata Nath of the Santhali department suffered serious injuries, and one of them had to be admitted in the hospital.
Talking to NewsClick, Mainul Hasan, a postgraduate student of English Literature in the University, and district secretary of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), said, “The goons were trying to take revenge because we held a demonstration in the campus on January 8, on the day of the All India General Strike.” The demonstration held by the students had two objectives – to show solidarity with the striking workers, and register protest against the recent fee hike, BJP-led NDA government’s relentless attack on education, and NRC and CAA. The other objective was to protest against BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta who was to deliver a lecture in the university on the Citizenship Amendment Act in the campus and its importance. Students said that this seminar was organised by Visva Bharati University’s vice chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty, who is allegedly affiliated to the ruling party at the Centre. However, the protesting students gheraoed the MP and he was unable to deliver the lecture. The students termed their protest as a success.
Mainul said, “While attacking the students, the goons demanded to know why the students participated in the protest on January 8. Swapnanil and Debobrata were chased by the goons from the boys hostel and beaten up.” The goons were allegedly led by Achintya Bagdi, Sabir Ali Baksh, and Sulabh Karmakar. Sabir is a former student of the university, while the other two are currently studying there. He added, “Despite the presence of the university’s security officer, Supriyo Ganguly, this brutal attack on the students did not stop. When the students asked him to take action, he said that he could not do anything.”
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Swapnanil was taken to the Pearson Memorial Hospital inside the campus by other students, where he currently remains under supervision. Mainul added, “Eight students, including me, took him to the hospital. However, the goons entered the hospital and tried to attack us. They were not stopped by the security. The attack stopped when other students joined us at the hospital.”
A joint committee of the students of the university, in a statement, alleged, “We hold VC Bidyut Chakraborty responsible for this brutal attack. He, along with being the vice chancellor of the university, is also an RSS organiser. He has created a private army of students. The goons who attacked us today are part of this army. Yesterday, the goons entered the campus on bikes, carrying rods and lathis. We cannot expect that he will take any action against these students. We demand his immediate resignation.”
The joint committee had also given a call for the students of the university to gather in front of the Central Office on the morning of Thursday, January 16, condemning the brutal attacks of the previous night. The students have been holding an agitation since the morning, demanding immediate resignation of Security Officer Supriyo Ganguly, and exemplary disciplinary action against the current students of the university who were part of the group of attackers. Mainul said, “We will not stop our agitation until we receive verbal and written assurance from the university administration saying that they will immediately take appropriate action.”
Two ABVP members, Achintya Bagdi and Sabir Ali Baksh were reportedly arrested by police on January 16. They were produced at Bolpur Court.
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