Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nandigram black daze reach JNU corridors, Speaker faces the wrath

Express India


Posted online: Thursday , November 15, 2007 at 12:00:00
Updated: Thursday , November 15, 2007 at 03:10:07

New Delhi, November 14
Cries of “killer CPI(M) down, down, Somnath go back”, rocked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on its Founder's day. While chief guest Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee talked on the issue of Parliamentary democracy in India, students protested against the Nandigram massacre wearing black armbands.

Around 20 members of Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) and five other non-party members condemned the state-sponsored violence in Nandigram, outside the auditorium holding placards and shouting slogans. “The CPI(M) is behaving like an autocratic leader without talking into account farmers’ rights,” said Surohi Nandan, a first year PhD student.

“The massacre is on the scale of Godhra, making Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee the Modi of Bengal and I would like to ask the Speaker why he as a CPI(M) leader has not taken any stand on the issue,” said DSU member Banojyotsna Lahiri, a second-year MPhil student.

However, the function continued despite the protests. The Speaker, hailing India as having the biggest talent pool in the world, said, “Excellence should not be achieved by trampling on individual’s creative spirit and freedom.” Urging the youth to take up responsibility of removing aberrations and imperfections in the political structure, Chatterjee exhorted them to come forward and contribute rather than being mere beneficiaries.

“After six decades we are still asked about the workability of our democratic structure which is very sad,” he said. Towards the end of his lecture, Chatterjee acknowledged the protest saying, “Some friends will be dissenting on some issue which is justified if they wish to enter Parliament.”