JNC keen to put row behind

JNC keen to put row behind

The college management says they support their students’ right to express their opinion

While Bengaluru’s campuses saw echoes of the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests, clashes were relatively unheard of till recently. Last week, a group of students from Jyoti Nivas College, Koramangala, had an argument with BJP workers who attempted to put up a poster supporting CAA on the campus wall.

When Metrolife visited the college lask week, principal Elizabeth, referred to the copy of the preamble to the Constitution placed on her desk to reiterate that her students were well within their rights to take the stand they did. While the college is maintaining a neutral stance on CAA, the management says it is committed to supporting the students’ fundamental rights.

Elizabeth and the vice principals said the management and professors were on the scene within 15 minutes of the altercation starting. “We were alerted to the noise outside the gates, and we went to assess the situation,” said one of the vice principals. 

Things settled down with the intervention of the police, whose presence helped. “We received additional police protection the next day too, even though we hadn’t formally asked for it,” says Elizabeth. 

The students of the college staged a silent gathering the next day, demonstrating for freedom of expression. “The girls and the parents are anxious about what happened. But the students are back in their classes,” added Elizabeth. 

No legal action planned

Though the college management shrugged off the idea of taking any legal action, lawyer Basawa Prasad Kunale, from the Alternative Law Forum, says the college should file an FIR. He adds that they can file a case against trespass and criminal intimidation.

“When the all-India protest against CAA happened on December 19, Central College filed an FIR against the students who entered the campus to protest,  despite a prior oral intimation regarding this. If that can happen, I think JNC too should file a case against BJP workers,” he says.

The curious case of Christ University

A day after the incident at JNC, there were reports of a similar situation from the Christ University, Hosur Road campus. A WhatsApp message, claiming that BJP workers had put up a pro-CAA poster near the back gate of the institution, was circulated. It also said that unlike JNC, the workers respected the wishes of those who refused to sign and also took down the poster after a few hours. However, barring a few scattered posts on social media, no real first-hand reports of the incident have surfaced.

Multiple students said that they were not aware of such an incident. Others. who saw the social media posts, said that even those who frequently use the back gate had not seen the poster.

Only two students Metrolife spoke to had heard of the poster from first-hand sources. They confirmed the information in the WhatsApp message but clarified that the poster was not placed on the college’s walls but opposite it. Curiously, there are no pictures or videos of this poster.

Another college, another protest

On Tuesday, students of Srishti Institute Of Art, Design And Technology (N5 campus) got into an altercation with some BJP activists, who were protesting against graffiti on the college’s walls. They covered up the ‘Sab Changa Si’ graffiti and threatened to sue the college and the students.

What JNC Principal told Metrolife

Elizabeth, principal of Jyoti Nivas College, Koramangala, says: “The college is a multi-cultural hub, a place of peaceful coexistence of many religions and ethnicities. The colleges wish to put this incident behind and move forward with the primary goal of fostering holistic development, and empowering and nurturing our young women to become responsible citizens, and remain faithful to the motto of our college ‘Let your light shine’.

Here’s What happened

On the afternoon of January 8, some BJP Yuva Morcha workers hung up a poster supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on the college walls, near the main gate. This took place at 3.30 pm when students were leaving the premises of the all-girls institution. 

The workers asked the students to sign the poster in support of the act. Those who refused were taunted and told things like ‘You are only thinking of yourself and not about the nation’. The students stood their ground and questioned how they could place such a poster on college property.  

By 3.45 pm, the administration and the staff got involved. The incident dragged on till 4.30 pm when the poster was finally removed and the crowd dispersed. 

Videos and images of the incident did the rounds on social media. On videos, workers can be heard raising slogans such as ‘Go back to Pakistan’ and ‘Go back to China’ against the students. 

The incident triggered a major political slugfest in the state, with the ruling and opposition parties trading charges.

 

 

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