- NL Sena
The BJP workers displayed the banner on the wall of Jyoti Nivas College without permission.
On Wednesday, students of Jyoti Nivas College, Bengaluru, were allegedly heckled by workers associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
At about 3 pm, BJP workers put up a banner on the wall of the college, located in Koramangala, in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act. They asked passersby to sign on the banner to register their support for the CAA. They asked autorickshaw drivers and students who passed by the banner for their signatures.
Students asked that the banner be removed, since permission hadn’t been obtained from the college administration.
The men reportedly lost their calm. In a video that went viral on social media, the BJP workers can be heard heckling the students, saying: “You’re uneducated. You’re illiterate. You can’t talk to us like this.” The men can be seen hurling insults at the students and demanding to speak to the “owner” of the college.
One of the students told Newslaundry, on the condition of anonymity: “They verbally harassed us when we challenged them. We told them that they can’t place the hoarding on the college wall. They rebuked us by asking us to leave India and go to Pakistan. That was very humiliating.”
Two teachers at the college tried to intervene but, the students said, the BJP workers were abusive towards them too.
“Our teachers tried to tackle the situation by telling them that we are neither for nor against the CAA, and asked them to take down the banner from the college’s wall,” said Parvathy, a student of the college. “But they refused to listen.”
During the altercation, students on the other side of the road shouted, “Revoke CAA”. The men responded by calling them “anti-national”.
The police arrived soon after and the banner was pulled down.
According to the students, even after the police arrived, the BJP workers continued shouting at them, calling them “Pakistanis”. While the police told the students to disperse, the men reportedly continued taking photos of the banners. They finally shouted “Bharat mata ki jai”, the students said, and then took the banner down.
“I don’t think these men had respect for the law in any terms,” a student told Newslaundry. “They thought they could put up the banner in a girls’ college and we’d relent easily and sign the banner. Many of us stand against the citizenship law. They are aware that students across universities have been fighting and raising their voice against the current government. Our college took a neutral stand on the CAA, which is an act of privilege in itself, but these men took advantage of that.”
Another student said, “Educational safe spaces are being turned into a place for them to spread their propaganda.”
Today, several students from the college gathered for a peaceful demonstration to have the right to an opinion. Students were allegedly asked by the administration to not shout any slogans, or make political statements regarding the citizenship law. Students of St Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Bengaluru, also had a peaceful gathering in their college to stand in solidarity.