On December 30, 2019, a group of individuals alleged to be members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling Hindu nationalist political party, reportedly attacked a Jadavpur University (JU) professor in retaliation for protesting a speaker’s remarks at a BJP meeting just outside the campus. BJP supporters also reportedly attacked two students who tried to help the professor.
Doyeeta Majumder, an assistant professor of English at JU, published a post on Facebook that she encountered the BJP meeting on her way back from a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act. According to police, a group of counter protesters were gathered at the BJP meeting holding signs. Majumder alleges the speaker at the BJP meeting said JU “is the root of all evil, they chant Allahu Akbar every day,” to which Majumder shouted ”mithye kotha” (lies lies) in response. Shortly thereafter, Majumder alleges she was surrounded by a group of BJP supporters who began hitting and shoving her. The BJP supporters also reportedly attacked two students who tried to rescue the professor.
Majumder and the two students reportedly filed a police complaint. BJP officials allege counter protesters pushed the BJP supporters and no BJP supporters were involved in any violence. Police have reported that they are investigating the incident.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent attack on a scholar and students in apparent retaliation for peaceful expressive activity. State authorities have a responsibility to prevent and respond to violent attacks on scholars and students, including by investigating and holding perpetrators of such attacks accountable. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such attacks threaten academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.