Two rallies — one by the RSS’s students’ wing and the other by the BJP’s youth brigade, both organised ostensibly to demand a fair probe into the death of a first-year student at Jadavpur University — were marked by slogans like “goli maro…” and “We will skin you” and hurling of footwear and abuses in the direction of the campus.
The RSS students’ wing (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), whose supporters shouted the slogan that rang loud ahead of the riots in Delhi in 2020, could not move far beyond the starting point at Gol Park. Police stopped them.
The BJP youth brigade (Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha), which had Calcutta High Court’s permission to walk past the JU campus, dubbed it a den of “drunks and drug addicts”, threatened the students to step out and hurled footwear at them.
Many students and teachers stood at the gates and saw the procession. A police officer said “thankfully” they did not respond to the provocation.
Besides “Goli maro...” these were some of the other slogans The Telegraph heard.
- Maobadider galey galey, juto maro taley taley (hit the Maoists on their face with shoes in rhythm)
- SFI-er chamra, gutiye debo aamra (We will skin the SFI)
- Ei ganja-khor, drug-khor-der chamra, gutiye debo aamra (we will skin the drug addicts and drunks here)
- Ek hi nara, ek hi naam, Jai Shri Ram Jai Shri Ram (There is only one name and only slogan, Hail Lord Ram Hail Lord Ram).
Several rallyists could be heard telling the students “aay baire aay, tarpor bujhe nebo (step outside, we will teach you a lesson)”. Some of them could be seen displaying sticks that had the lotus symbol wrapped around them to suggest what they would receive if the students dared to step out.
The Yuva Morcha march, too, started from Gol Park. It went past JU’s gate numbers 5, 4 and 3 on its way to the 8B bus stand.
The march terminated at the bus stand around 5.15pm, where BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari met the marchers and affirmed his support for them.
When the rallyists were shouting at the top of their lungs “... juto maro taley taley (shoe them in rhythm)”, they displayed footwear first and then hurled them towards gate number 4.
Students stood behind the gate complying with a request from the police.
Some of the teachers stood guard at the gate to ensure that the students did not pick an argument with the protesters who were clearly trying to instigate them.
“We did not want to get into any provocation. So we remained inside. But in the name of protesting a death, they were threatening other students,” said a postgraduate student.
Debanjan Paul, media-in-charge of the local ABVP, was part of the Gol Park rally. Asked about the “goli maro...” slogans, he said: “There were many outsiders in the rally. We are not sure who raised the slogan.”
Rajeshywar Sinha, a professor of JU’s Bengali department who stood at the gate, said: “Any person would feel traumatised with the kind of verbal abuse and provocative slogans that are being directed at the university. This is unthinkable in any civilised society. How can this be called a protest? How can a protest be so crude?”
Asked why they hurled footwear, Rajarshi Lahiri, a spokesperson for the BJP who was present at the march, said: “This happened because they (students) were showing black flags and footwear from inside the campus. If you show this to us, we will give it back to you in retaliation.”
On August 12, two days after the death of the first-year student at JU, who had allegedly been ragged, BJP supporters barged into the Jadavpur University campus to protest the death.