Large Gathering of Students in Kolkata as SFI’s Eastern Jatha Concludes
Kolkata: Many cannot remember when the city last saw such a large student gathering. The occasion was the Students’ Federation of India’s (SFI) east and northeast student jatha, part of its countrywide campaign against the New Education Policy (NEP), which concluded on Friday in Kolkata with the slogan of ‘Save Education, Save the Country, Save the Constitution’.
A massive protest rally of students from the eastern region, passing through various districts of West Bengal, reached Kolkata's College Street.
After travelling to different parts of the country, SFI’s jatha entered West Bengal through two states. For the past month, campaigning has been carried out through district meetings to give a historical shape to Friday’s gathering.
Thousands of students joined the protest on College Street on the last day of the jatha or march. Four massive rallies from Sealdah, Howrah, Shyambazar and Subodh Mallick Square converged on College Street before the meeting. From Shyambazar five points, the SFI workers of the Kolkata district took a huge procession and reached Manindra Chandra College, Jaipuria College, Khudiram College, Bethune College, St Paul's College and then reached College Street. The east and north east India-wide student jatha ended with songs, poetry, plays, and slogans, the highlight being songs by Arko Mukherjee. The gathering became livelier with the spontaneous participation of many common people.
SFI's first all India general secretary and octogenarian, Biman Bose, SFI's present all India general secretary Mayukh Biswas, joint secretary Dipsita Dhar, state secretary Srijan Bhattacharya, state president Pratikur Rahman and others addressed the rally.
In the rally, Biman Bose said, “The new education policy of the Central government will end education of children from poor families. This is the Centre's new education policy to privatise education. Leftists will protest across the country to demand the repeal of NEP.”
“From the college admission of students to the appointment of teachers, the leaders of the ruling party in the state are corrupt The leaders are creating mountains of money. SFI has to take responsibility for breaking this corruption. I believe only students can break this mountain of corruption,” Basu said in the context of West Bengal.
NewsClick spoke with Anirban Aich, a student of Shrirampur College of Hooghly who had come to the rally with 19 of his friends, and Shantanu halder of Sonarpur, who had come in with 32 students to the rally. Both of them hailed the rally as a historical one and said, “Amidst corruption, the fight of the SFI for probity in public life has got the attention of the common people of the state. It is not for nothing that the jatha has covered nearly a thousand kilometres with the message against NEP and against the hooliganism in campuses by BJP in Assam and Tripura, and of the TMC in West Bengal.”
Addressing the rally, Mayukh Biswas said, “Modi and Mamata have one stand on education. This education policy was created by the RSS. The word secular is not used here. We do not accept this education policy. We do not hear any opposition to education policy from the State government. This proves that these two political parties are on the same path. We want the government to take all responsibility for the education of the students.”
"The State government is selling jobs, and the Central government is selling railways, banks, insurance. Students have to form a strong movement to save the country from these thieves," Biswas said.
The rally has marked the culmination of the eastern and northeastern leg of the all India jatha programme after starting in Bihar and Tripura and thereafter crisscrossing Bihar, Jharkhand and 19 districts of West Bengal.
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