The unrest brewing in Kolkata’s Jadavpur University over the open-air screening of Vivek Agnihotri’s film “Buddha In A Traffic Jam” organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (AVBP) amid protests spilled on the streets of the city on Saturday.
Hundreds of students were brought from the campus to the city’s Golpark area chanting slogans of ‘Azadi from RSS and BJP.’
Governor Kesharinath Tripathi has asked for a report from the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Suranjan Das.
The commotion, which started late on Friday afternoon, continued till early hours of Saturday. Jadavpur University authorities on Friday filed a police complaint against four outsiders — three of them ABVP activists — for allegedly molesting women students of the university.
Police action sought
Later on Saturday, Prof. Das said he expected the police to take action based on the complaint. The Governor, however, said the University “is fast turning into a centre for disturbances”.
Meanwhile, a three-member delegation of the ABVP headed by Sudir Halder, Secretary, ABVP West Bengal, met the Governor. “They raise their voice against intolerance and at the same time stop people from expressing their thoughts,” Mr. Halder said. The film was supposed to be screened at the Triguna Sen Auditorium on the university campus by the AVBP but was later cancelled. Despite the protest by Left wing students, the film was screened at one of the university grounds. In the evening the presence of BJP leaders like Roopa Ganguly outside the campus made the situation more volatile.
“The Triguna Sen Auditorium is owned and managed by the JU Alumni Association and we have no say in its running. We have no control over who rents the hall or when, or the money they charge,” Prof. Das said.
The Vice-Chancellor blamed the alumni association for the commotion. “The main culprit is the alumni association. Why did they give the hall to the Pune-based organisation in the first place, and then cancel it again? We will talk to the alumni association,” he said, while adding that the organisers should have taken permission before holding the open-air screening.
Months ago, the university witnessed a similar situation when a section of students raised controversial slogans. Left wing students’ organisation and AVBP activists had a face-off then.
Vivek Agnihotri discusses ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’, the film’s core idea of student-naxal nexus and the role that ISB played in its making.
“I am interested in a constructive approach, which looks at how wealth can be created using bright ideas. He is interested in criticising and accusing,” says Agnihotri
Illustrating his own struggle to carve out a niche for himself in the entertainment industry, Vivek says initially he was welcomed but after the first release things became difficult.
Bollywod actor Pallavi Joshi essays the part of the wife of Anupam Kher in the film. She talks about her role in 'Buddha in a Traffic Jam' and about working with her husband after 17 years.