The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Anti-war cries mark medical college bash

Calcutta, April 20: After rallies, seminars and even a special namaaz for the people of Iraq, anti-war sentiments took a new form in the city when students of a medical college chose it as the “theme” for their annual fest.

Agon-03, the three-day event hosted by would-be doctors at Calcutta National Medical College had protest against the war on Iraq on its masthead.

The usual fare of antakshari, quiz and skits was there. So were a seminar on medical emergency management and photography contests, performances by Bangla bands Parashpathar and Cactus and the students. But the shadow of the war never left the shows. Theatre personality Rudraprasad Sengupta and singer Pilu Bhattacharya were among those who expressed “solidarity with the people of Iraq”.

“Juddha jadi aakash dhake, surya tabe uthbe kabe' (If clouds of war cover the sky, when will the sun rise')” was the slogan that rang loud and clear.

“The attack on Iraq preceded by the one on Afghanistan made us choose the theme,” said Amit Jana, college union leader and a Calcutta district committee member of the Students’ Federation of India. “Initially, we had planned anti-communalism as our theme, the Gujarat carnage was fresh in our memory. We thought it would be relevant,” Jana said. However, the students were unanimous in changing it to the war.

“We wanted to express our shock and anger against the loss of lives — the attack on hospitals and civilians. The new trend to justify wars against weaker nations is alarming,” said Jana.

Senior SFI leaders said there was “no instruction from the leadership to choose the war theme. “We have not sent instructions to any college union to choose anti-war themes for fests. If any union has chosen it, the decision is their’s,” said an SFI leader.

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