ABVP men speak with Graduate School College for Women principal on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
The ongoing ‘coalgate’ forcibly closed the gates of colleges in Jamshedpur on Tuesday.
Around 250 members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the BJP, forced city colleges to join their agitation against the alleged coal block allocation scam by personally going to campuses and asking authorities to suspend classes for the day.
The national-level students’ union had called for an all-India college bandh on Tuesday as part of the BJP-led Opposition’s ongoing agitation against the UPA-led Centre’s alleged favouritism over allocating coal blocks to mining firms.
It would have been another matter had colleges voluntarily suspended their classes in spontaneous solidarity.
However, that was far from the case.
Student activists of the ABVP launched protests at various campuses — ABM College, Jamshedpur Women’s College, Graduate School College for Women, Jamshedpur Co-operative College, Jamshedpur Workers’ College and LBSM College — and forced classes to end.
The activists entered college campuses and spoke to authorities and students regarding closure of classes.
It was an absolute cakewalk in girls’ colleges — Jamshedpur Women’s College in Bistupur and The Graduate School College for Women in Sakchi as attendance was already thin. Most guardians had refused to let the girls venture out in anticipation of the APVP protest.
“Our students already knew about the all-India bandh that was called. In any case, attendance was minimal. We continued our official work and let students go home without fuss,” said Kanak Lata, principal of Graduate School College for Women.
However, to do the ABVP members credit, as a silver lining, the ongoing Part I exams of Kolhan University were left undisturbed.
“All colleges should have remained shut for the day to protest against rising corruption in our country. Scams in 2G spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and coal blocks have tarnished the country’s image and caused huge losses to the economy. The bandh was our stern message to the powers-that-be that students simply won’t tolerate any corruption,” said Satnam Singh, ABVP secretary in Jamshedpur.
ABVP members also staged a sit-in and blocked Old Court Road that connects the densely populated Mango and Marine Drive, affecting vehicular movement for nearly two hours.
They promised the show would go on. Youth Against Corruption (YAC) of ABVP said it planned to protest regularly and not limit it to a daylong affair.
State co-ordinator of YAC Navneet Singh said the city would see student protests and rallies against graft.
“We are planning many activities to protest against corruption in the near future. The student community must raise its voice against widespread corruption that is gnawing away at the fundamentals of our great country,” he said.