Members of SFI take out a rally in Silchar on Tuesday. Telegraph picture
Silchar, Feb. 17: Members of the Students' Federation of India (SFI) holding a sit-in in solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students were allegedly attacked by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) here today.
A group of SFI activists took out a rally from its office this morning and staged a sit-in today expressing solidarity with the JNU students in front of the Khudiram Bose statue at Park Road here. They shouted slogans demanding the immediate release of the JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar and slammed the "undemocratic acts of the BJP-led central government".
A group of ABVP activists led by its Assam state secretary Manoj Das allegedly asked the SFI activists to stop the sloganeering and withdraw the sit-in.
The ABVP activists later allegedly attacked them, leaving three of them seriously injured.
A case was lodged at Sadar police station under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC against Das and another ABVP activist Debobrata Baori.
Sources said the police shifted the injured SFI members to the hospital.
The president of the SFI Silchar unit, Gulzar Alam Zakaria, said today's incident clearly exposed the level of "intolerance" among the right-wing people. "We were staging a sit-in democratically. Being the citizens of the largest democratic country, we have the right to register our protest and express our opinion. But the ABVP members thrashed us and tried to gag our voice."
Zakaria said the BJP-led NDA government was trying to suppress freedom of speech and expression. "The situation is gradually moving to such a stage that after a few days it would not be possible for an individual to speak out anything against the central government. Democracy is really in peril," he added.
Debojit Gupta, Cachar district secretary of DYFI, condemned the attack on SFI activists by the ABVP. "What is going on in this country? The students are being attacked by the members of the ruling party's students' union in daylight. It's really bizarre."
Contacted, Das first said he was not present at the spot. But when told that a case had been registered against him, he said, "They were raising slogans against our motherland. It's really painful. We just asked them to stop sloganeering against our country. We did not indulge in any sort of violence."