Rights

Anti-CAA Protesters at JLF Detained, Organisers Say They Were Asked to Leave

The students have alleged that the festival security personnel assaulted them while escorting them off the grounds.

Jaipur: The Rajasthan police on Sunday detained five students attending the Jaipur Literature festival (JLF) for raising anti- Citizenship (Amendment) Act slogans.

After the incident took place, Bappadittya Sarkar, one of the students who were detained, took to social media to allege that they were raising slogans of ‘Azaadi’ near the canteen area when the JLF security assaulted them.

“The festival personnel and the bouncers repeatedly slapped and kicked us on the way out, they bound our hands and mouths,” Sarkar wrote on Instagram.

 

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Today, a few of us were sloganeering peacefully in an open space in JLF, we chose to do it near the festival bazaar and cafes so we wouldn’t interrupt the speakers or ongoing sessions. People joined in on the slogans and were chanting passionately. However 5 minutes into it, the security personnel and the festival personnel manhandled us, and started pushing us out of the festival, our way of resisting wasn’t violent, instead we all were chanting “Azaadi” on the way out. The festival personnel and the bouncers repeatedly slapped and kicked us on the way out, they bound our hands and mouths. The police detained us, kept us in the Ashok Nagar Police station for 5 hours and didn’t enthusiastically want to fire an FIR against the festival personnel for assault and manhandling. They still haven’t filed an FIR, but have issued a complaint instead. We pushed them to file an FIR so that we could be sent for a medical examination, but that didn’t happen either. However there are multiple bruises on my body and my fellows’, too. We are being portrayed as the fringe, the media has suddenly found our non-existing links to CPI. It’s important to understand that there’s an attempt to repeatedly invalidate this movement. It’s baffling to see this happen in a space where dissent is celebrated (?) For people saying that JLF is not a place to protest, I feel they’ve lost the point of literature and spaces that (should) encourage dialogue. We refuse to protest in designated protest spaces, we will not dilute our resistance. The resistance will grow out of houses and onto walls till it finally sprouts from our chests. It must have been threatening for people to see students and artists point their hands to the infinite sky, asking for freedom. Also, it’s convenient to have a session on Faiz and Firaq and then feel threatened when slogans like “Faiz ka naara tez ho” and “Firaq ka naara tez ho” are chanted. It’s important to understand what it is about unarmed students and artists that threatens them. It’s time to break out of the most dangerous kind of captivity – fear. They fear that one day we will stop fearing them. Inquilab Zindabad!

A post shared by Bappadittya Sarkar (@bappadittyasarkar) on

When the police reached the spot, the students were detained and taken to Ashok Nagar police station.

“The police didn’t enthusiastically filed an FIR against the festival personnel for assault and manhandling. They still haven’t filed an FIR, but have issued a complaint instead,” added Sarkar.

“It’s baffling to see this happen in a space where dissent is celebrated (?) For people saying that JLF is not a place to protest, I feel they’ve lost the point of literature and spaces that (should) encourage dialogue.
We refuse to protest in designated protest spaces, we will not dilute our resistance. Also, it’s convenient to have a session on Faiz and Firaq and then feel threatened when slogans like ‘Faiz ka naara tez ho’ and ‘Firaq ka naara tez ho’ are chanted. It’s important to understand what it is about unarmed students and artists that threatens them,” Sarkar wrote.

Meanwhile, the police said that they are investigating the matter.

“We have received complaints from both the sides – students and JLF. The students were raising slogans which the organisers had objected to. They were released the same day and we are now investigating the matter. It’s a small issue, the media is unnecessarily blowing it out of proportion,” Shree Mohan Meena, station house officer at the Ashok Nagar police station in Jaipur told The Wire.

The JLF organisers issued a statement on Monday saying that the students who were sloganeering against CAA were asked to leave so that the “visitors – students, older people and international guests – can take in the diverse content and knowledge for which the festival is known”.