Kolkata: Protests against the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students rocked various parts of West Bengal on Monday as police had to baton-charge supporters of the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when the two sides engaged in a face-off in South Kolkata.
The students of Jadavpur University had joined the nationwide protests by raising slogans and singing songs against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and BJP government at the Centre.
Beginning at the JU campus, the rally proceeded towards the Jadavpur Police Station, took a U-turn and again moved towards the Sulekha More. Several eminent personalities, such as filmmaker Anik Dutta and music director Debojyoti Mishra joined the rally.
Shouting slogans like "Nathuram Godse in your heart while (revolutionary) Khudiram Bose is in our heart", the students slammed the ABVP for allegedly attacking the JNU students, including students' union president Aishe Ghosh and professor Sucharita Sen.
"Yesterday (Sunday) was the darkest day of Indian democracy because of what happened inside the JNU campus. Beating up of students and teachers by goons and attacking girls' hostel by ABVP activists brought shame to our democracy.
"But, such attacks will not deter us from continuing our fight against fascist forces," a JU student said.
Later in the evening, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other Left parties also took out a rally from Jadavpur 8B Bus stand to Sulekha More.
The students of Jadavpur University, activists of the Students’ Federation of India and members of other Left outfits took out a rally from 8B Bus Stand to Sulekha More in the evening.
A march was taken out by the BJP from Bagha Jatin More to Jadavpur Police Station over the JNU issue and also alleged ransacking of its party office in the area on Sunday night.
The two sides came face to face at Sulekha More, leading to a brawl.
BJP activists allegedly pelted stones at the Left activists, who reportedly burnt the flags of BJP and ABVP.
Police put up barricades and blocked both the rallies, but abuses were allegedly hurled and slogans and counter-slogans raised.
SFI supporters claimed that BJP workers used expletives against women activists.
After repeated attempts to calm the situation, police baton-charged supporters of the Left and BJP as the two sides engaged in a face off, claiming it was to disperse the protesters.
Police personnel were seen brutally beating up the protesters, including students and women.
Later on, South Suburban Division Deputy Commissioner of Police Sudip Sarkar said the intention of the baton charge was not to beat up the students.
"Our intention was not to beat up the students. It was due to a confusion that some students were hurt. We wanted to disperse the BJP and ABVP supporters. If any student is hurt, we are ready to apologise," Sarkar told reporters.
In another development, students of the Presidency University took out a rally on College Street expressing solidarity with the JNU students.
"We condemn such violence inside the JNU campus, which is a cradle of free and liberal thinking. The ABVP and BJP want to curb free thought and want to impose their fascist ideology on us. But we will continue our fight till the last breath," a Presidency University student said.
The Congress students' wing, Chhatra Parishad , burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on College Street.
The Trinamool Congress student's wing -- Trinamool Chatra Parishad -- also took out rallies in various parts of the state.
College and university students took out rallies across the state condemning the attack on JNU campus.
On Sunday, a mob of masked young people stormed the JNU campus in south Delhi and systematically targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings. They also attacked a women's hostel.
The attack triggered protests across the country and the clamour grew for the resignation of the vice chancellor, who is being blamed for inaction during the violence that left 34 people injured.