It was a usual protest demonstration, where thousands took part chanting slogans against anti-national elements while marching on the busy streets of Guwahati, the virtual capital of northeast India. But aftershocks of the protest march elongated for days in the trouble-torn region, where a section of media outlets even played the trick.
In fact, a few thousand citizens joined in the protest rally braving the morning sunshine on 27 February 2016 with the national flag in their hands, which was kicked off from Dighalipukhuri point and culminated at the same place after marching up to Chandmari locality of the pre-historic city.
The Guwahatians devotedly responded to the call of Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) for the protest march condemning the anti-national advocates that emerged from different higher educational institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jadavpur University and elswhere in the recent past.
The protesters rubbished the section of JNU students for terming Afzal Guru, who was executed for his involvement in 2001 Indian Parliament attack, a martyr. The JNU students also showed the audacity to point our the execution of Guru on 9 February 2013 as a judicial killing and they even resolved to fight to break India into thousand parts until it’s destruction is complete.
Those anti-India JNU students organized a meeting on 9 February evening inside the JNU campus to commemorate the execution of Guru even though he was executed after an exhausted judicial process. Later they organized another commemorative meeting at Press Club of India next day, where too anti-India slogans were raised. Similar news also
broke from Jadavpur University in West Bengal, where few students indulged in anti-national sloganeering and poster-planting.
The JNU controversy has already gripped the huge public space in India with international media attentions as the authority had arrested many student leaders under the sedition charge. Numerous public rallies were already organized in different parts of the country criticizing Narendra Modi government’s handling of JNU issues. Even both the houses of Indian Parliament debated over the matter, where the opposition law-makers criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government at the Centre for its ‘aggressive actions against democratic exercises’.
Earlier, in another development the Union HRD minister Smriti Irani initiated to raise the national flag in India’s 46 Central Universities regularly. The vice-chancellors of these universities had a meeting with the minister on 18 February and resolved in unanimous that the national tri-colour would be flown prominently and proudly on their campuses to signify a united India.
The PPFA, which is a forum of conscious individuals without any political party alliance, hailed the initiative arguing that it would help erasing the unwanted impression about the New Delhi based prestigious institute that the JNU had virtually turned into a hotbed for anti-India elements. Underlining the importance of elevating the tri-colour, the forum pointed out that it symbolizes the immense sacrifice made by millions of known and unknown freedom fighters to make India an independent nation and every responsible citizen should salute the national flag.
“It has been observed that separatist elements and a bunch of so-called intellectuals of the country have long been opposing the hoisting of tri-colour citing their grievances against the Union government. They must understand that the national flag does not belong to the government, rather it is owned by every Indian citizen,” said Rupam Barua of PPFA.
The participants of Guwahati march chanted slogans like ‘Vande Mataram, Joi Asom, Anti-Nationals Go Back, Down Down Anti-Nationals, Punish JNU Anti-Nationals, Condemn Jadavpur Anti-Nationals, ‘RADICAL’ Get Out, China’s Bootlickers Get Out, etc’.
The long march was led by a number of noted citizens, including eminent journalist Dhirendra Nath Chakrabarty, noted publisher Giripad Devchoudhury, retired bureaucrat Rohini Barua, award-winning film-maker Manju Bora, ex-army officer Ranjan Dutta, film-critic Utpal Datta, popular singer Babita Sarma, academician Jagadindra Raychoudhury, publisher Dhiraj Goswami, physician Alekhya Barua, environmentalist Soumyadeep Dutta, entrepreneur Ujjal Saikia, etc.
It was also joined by popular writer Namrata Dutta, photography director Jiban Dowka, councilor Sunita Bhiluwaria, social activists Kailash Sarma, Pankaj Jalan, Kishor Saini, lawyers Chinmoy Choudhury, Chinmoy Sarma Barua,Tapas Mishra, Bankim Sarma, Kumud Konwar with senior journalists Biman Chandra Hazarika, Pramod Kalita, Pradip Pareekh, DN Singh, Bipul Sarma, Azlina Khanam, Jesim Raja, Sewali Kalita and others.
The protest march received visible media coverage across the region expect few Assam based media outlets tried to term it as a congregate of rightist people (read sympathizers to BJP) only. A Guwahati based newspaper, owned by a Congress leader, reported that the protest march was sponsored by Hindu-centric ageneses, where as another Assamese daily, edited by a Left aligned intellectual, simply preferred to kill the news, as if it had never happened.