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‘Indecent’ student protests in Kolkata mar Presidency’s reputation

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Kolkata: In its 198-year-old history, Presidency University (formerly Presidency College) has seen it all  from being a prominent hub of India’s nationalist movement, to emerging as hotbed of West Bengal’s Maoist agitation. it has churned out elites and Nobel laureate and of late, witnessed a spate of ignominious anti-establishment students’ protests. Barely a year after Jadavpur University’s popular ‘Hok Kolorob’ (Let there be shouts)student agitation subsided, the Presidency campus, where the likes of Chittaranjan Das, Subash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda studied, simmered with what most have have termed an “indecent” agitation.

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A section of students confined Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia in her office for over 30 hours, defaced walls, stood on her table, vandalized her nameplate and demonstrated with posters and slogans both inside and outside her office, demanding her resignation. The trigger: An official visit of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to the varsity campus to announce a slew of funding initiatives and ventures. They greeted her with black flags and shouted slogans demanding action against those purportedly activists of ruling Trinamool Congress’ students’ wing – who were behind the vandalizing of the university’s heritage Baker Laboratory in 2013. Lohia has ruled out any resignation saying she was an apolitical person and the college was dependent on the state government for funds. The methods used by the students to make their point have been roundly criticized by a wide section of the people. The students claimed to have been roughed up by police during the visit, and alleged the vice chancellor failed to protect them. However, the real message, said Trisha Chanda, the students union general secretary, that the students (including a male protester dressed in black boxers and bra) failed to convey through the movement was the “autocratic” reign of the vice chancellor. “In the last one-and-a-half year, there have been transfers, renowned academicians have quit as faculty and she refused to listen to our pleas when a stringent attendance system was imposed and several students were barred from exams. “This has not happened during the previous vice chancellor’s time so why now? We want academic excellence and that is why we are raising our voices”.

But she did concede their mode of protest was not right for an institution as prestigious as the Presidency University, and that is why they later apologized But the call for Lohia’s resignation stays loud and clear. Lohia has stood resolute on her stance that “resignation is not happening under any situation”. She has even defended the perceived “closeness” to the chief minister, including her accompanying Banerjee during her London visit in July. “I am not close to anyone. Yes I went with the chief minister to London. I went when she asked me to go for an administrative meeting. I was not the only VC there. There were four others. How come no one else was targeted? Maybe they think I am close to her but as far as I know, I am not close to anyone,” Lohia has said. A President herself, Deboshruti Roychowdhury, the former dean of students at the varsity, who has “wholeheartedly” supported the agitation, doesn’t approve of the tenor of the movement. “I did scold them. But the reason they are fighting for is completely justified. Academic excellence has gone down the drain over the last one-and-a-half years. The protests reached a climax on the day of the varsity’s third convocation on August 23, with the agitating students calling for a boycott though the event went off peacefully. Eminent scientist Bikash Sinha, a Presidency alumnus, lambasted the “sorry state of affair” in Bengal and reiterated his concern about the state being a failure. Former director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Padmanabhan Balaram, who was the chief guest at the convocation, criticized the country’s sole preoccupation with politics and its fading culture of learning and scholarship. However, Chanda and her fellow agitators have denied any political motivation in the movement. With the students now softening their stance, comparisons have started cropping up between the hugely successful ‘Hok Koloroba’ movement and the Presidency damp squib.

In September, 2014, police had resorted to a midnight baton charge after being called in by then Jadavpur University vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti to clear out students laying siege to his office over their demand for an independent probe into a molestation. The police action only intensified the protests with the movement, finding support from various educational institutes across India as also from alumni across the globe. The Presidency fracas too garnered support. Student unions at the University of Hyderabad and New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University have stood by the agitators. Stark contrasts exist, though, in the two cases. While Governor K.N. Tripathi and Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee have extended support to Lohia, a year ago Chakrabarti’s removal was announced on a megaphone by Banerjee amidst a large gathering of student protestors. Presidency University has its roots in the Hindu College, established in 1817 that cradled the 19th century Bengal renaissance. It was christened Presidency College in 1855. The previous Left Front government in the state upgraded it to a university in 2010.

(IANS)

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Namaz Offering Mamata Banerjee Remains Silent on Triple Talaq Verdict

This Trinamool poster is not the first time that the Bengal CM has done so to gain minority votes

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Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee offering Namaz. Facebook
  • In a recent tweet photo, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s photo offering Namaz can be seen on a Trinamool poster
  • This is not the first time Banerjee has stooped to such a level to get minority votes
  • Usually agile to respond on every issue, she has also chosen to remain silent on triple talaq verdict

August 26, 2017: Mamata Banerjee, the CM of West Bengal, was recently seen in a Trinamool Congress poster offering Namaz, an incident which has stirred a lot of heated reactions.

Very clearly the CM can be seen offering Namaz, a move that Babul Supriyo, BJP candidate, believes is “fooling the minority.”

Also Read: Supreme Court’s Decision to Ban “Triple Talaq” is a big Relief for India Muslim Women

Just imagine the level to which politicians are now stooping down to appease the minority for their valuable votes. This is next level of appeasement politics.

But this Trinamool poster is not the first time that the Bengal CM has done so to gain minority votes.

When Mamata Banerjee was the Railway Minister, a railway advertisement was issued in 2010 with a photo of her offering Namaz. This came months before Bengal Polls for the Assembly.

The picture has also come under fire considering the Bangladeshi illegal immigrant problem that the state is bearing.

Furthermore, known for her quick responses to decisions considering nation at large, the Bengal CM has remained silent on the Supreme Court judgment that said Triple Talaq is unconstitutional. This too has not gone down well with her many critiques.

Banerjee, known for her offhand remarks on matters, chose the political strategy of silence. When asked about her view on the Supreme Court’s verdict, she refused to answer the question.

It is quite obvious that the Namaz offering Mamata Banerjee has avoided discussions and controversies on any topic related to minority communities.

One of the five triple talaq petitioners to Supreme Court, Ishrat Jahan, has sought protection for herself and family after intimidation from the neighborhood. She has written to the CM regarding the same. As of yet, there has been no response.

This tight lipped attitude coming from Bengal CM has not gone down well with the public including the Muslim community who stands divided over her stance.

Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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World Police Games: West Bengal Police Constable Sushen Ray Wins Gold Medal in Long Jump in Los Angeles

Sushen Roy, a constable in the Bengal Police, has won gold medal in World Police Games held at Los Angeles

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World Police Games
Sushen Roy, gold medalist in Long Jump. Twitter
  • The city of Los Angeles hosted this year’s World Police Games
  • The West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced that a police constable from the state had won gold medal in long jump category
  • The constable named Sushen Roy was congratulated by the CM in a Facebook post

Kolkata, August 11, 2017: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that Bengal police constable Sushen Ray has won the gold medal in long jump in the World Police Games in Los Angeles.

ALSO READ: This Dancing Traffic Man from Kolkata Makes People Smile!

“I am very proud to share with all of you that one of the members of Bengal Police, Constable Sushen Ray has got Gold Medal in World Police Games in Los Angeles, the US in the long jump,” she said on Facebook.

This is a great achievement for Bengal and also Indian police. My heartiest congratulations and best wishes to him,” she added. (IANS)

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Thirteen Crazy Politicians of India Who Have Justified Rape on Women

If only our leaders will perceive the crime as an act of blame, how can we expect the nation to outgrow a divisive thinking?

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Rape
December 22, students protest the rising violence against women. Wikimedia Commons

Aug 10, 2017: 

What is the status of women in India? The most prevalent question everyone wants to know owing to the belittlement of Indian women every now and then. Every time an illicit crime is committed, it is the women who are to be blamed brazenly. This blame gaming is not only expressed by our society but by the country’s eminent leaders as well. If only our leaders will perceive the crime as an act of blame, how can we expect the nation to outgrow a divisive thinking?

In the past, the politicians of the country have delivered one deplorable remark after another about women being raped and supported the rape culture brazenly.

Let us look at crazy statements by some of these crazy leaders.

Here are 14 times our country leaders made insulting remarks on Rape 
Mulayam Singh Yadav, ex Chief Minister of UP, “Ladke, ladke hain… galti ho jati hai” (Boys will be boys, they commit mistakes)

 

Yes. Boys will be boys because they have been taught to do so and celebrate their masculinity in every way possible. Till the time we will not hold the males of the society accountable for their licentious acts, we cannot expect the society to grow.

Tapas Pal, Member of Parliament, “If anyone from the opposition or their wives and sisters are here, then listen up, if any one of your people touches anyone from TMC I will destroy you, I will not spare them. I will send my boys and they will rape people.”

Rape for rape? An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, which is a gross advice. Retaliating with the same degree of violence worsens the circumstance.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, “the rape cases are on the rise in the country because men and women interact with each other more freely”

If we acknowledge the rationale stated by her, then there should be no rape attempts on those girls who do not talk or mingle with boys. However, the frightful statistics released by the National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB), cases of incest rapes have increased by 30.7%, from 309 cases in 2008 to 404 cases in 2009.

ALSO READ: Exclusive-12 Sexist Remarks that Every Woman can relate to!

Dinesh Reddy, former police chief of Andhra Pradesh , “When you are taking food which gives good josh (energy), you tend to be more naughty as time passes.
I am giving you down-to-earth facts. Rapes are not in the control of the police. Even the villagers from coastal Andhra are wearing salwar-kameez (as against traditional dress). All these things provoke.”

Every person is entitled to wear what he or she may prefer. Rapes happen even in the fully covered attire, such reinforcement of rape culture where the victims are to be blamed for the trepidation perpetrated on them is shameful and should be condemned.

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Former Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, “Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers.”

First mingling with boys, then fashionable clothes and now denouncing women for venturing in the night, our politicians did not spare a chance to restrict women and holding them guilty for their existence. It’s never about the situation under which rape was committed, it’s about who commits it.

Dharamvir Goyat Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) member,“If we go into the details of rape cases and abductions, it is found that victims and accused in 90% of cases are runaway couples. So the cases are consensual.”

Another slow-witted assessment of such heinous crime. Rape never involves consent, the politician got it all wrong.

Haryana’s former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, “People used to marry their girls to save them from Mughal atrocities and currently a similar situation is arising in the state. I think that’s the reason khap has taken such a decision and I support it.”

Child marriage as a remedy to curtail rape is as futile as the leader who professed it. The statement was disowned across the country and received resentment.

Abu Azmi, Samajwadi Party President on giving solution of rape, “Solution is this: any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent, 

The comment outrightly highlights misogyny in politics. The barbs flew in thick and sharp against the outrageous statement, the first to refute the statement was the politician’s own son.

Haryana Khap Panchayat leader Jitender Chhatar, “Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance, evoking an urge to indulge in acts such as rape and sex. You also know the impact of chowmein, which is a spicy food, on our body. Hence, our elders too advised eating light and nutritious food.”

This statement too like other was censured amongst the public for blaming chowmein for increasing rapes. A Twitterati commented: It’s funny how no one sees the Liquor stores near every traffic signal and goes on to blame Chowmein in Haryana.

Karnataka’s then Home Minister K J George said, How can you say gangrape? Gangrape means four-five people.

This is another example of the nation’s leader who expressed his views on rape without giving it a thought, which stoked a controversy across the nation. Rape is a rape, what point is the leader trying to prove by offering a definition of gang rape?

Former Chief Minister of MP Babulal Gaur, “This is a social crime which depends on men and women. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.”

What is a ‘Social Crime’?  It is a popular form of lower class social resistance involving behavior characterized by law as illegal but is supported by wider society as being moral and acceptable. In other words, Rape is a rightful activity according to the politician. The statement is an encouragement to the rapists, which is immoral and unjustified.

Abhijit Mukherjee, son of Pranab Mukherjee said, “These pretty women, dented and painted, who come for protests are not students. I have seen them speak on television, usually, women of this age are not students.”

To criticize the common people who are taking out candle march to solicit justice is untenable and insensitive. The mindset shows the inclination towards the rather than focus on the crisis.

Former Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil, “If I wanted to contest from this seat and become an MLA, I should have committed rape after the elections.”

The comment raised hackles and was viewed as an insult to the women. No wonder it was made in a sarcastic tone with regard to the other politician, crimes like rape is still a matter of high concern and should be dealt with sensitivity.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.