Hok Kolorob Movement by Jadavpur University Students, Kolkata, India
The Hok Kolorob Movement or the 2014 Jadavpur University student protest, is an ongoing series of protests by the students of Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India that began on September 3, 2014. The term "Hok Kolorob" (literally, "let there be cacophony", Bengali: হোক কলরব) was originally the title of a song by Bangladeshi singer Arnob and began to be used as a hashtag on Facebook.
On 16 September 2014, peaceful demonstrations by students took place in front of the administrative building of the University, demanding an investigation into the molestation of a female student in campus. Following several unsuccessful attempts at dialogue with the authorities, the students gheraoed some personnel of the University authority, including the Vice-Chancellor, Abhijit Chakrabarti. The Vice-Chancellor called the police. The subsequent police brutality unleashed upon the students in the early hours of September 17 triggered a wave of protests by students and teachers.
Criticisms of the police brutality included that police used baton charge on a peaceful demonstration, that female students were manhandled and molested by male police officers, and that several men not in uniform attacked the students. The police maintain that there were plainclothesmen among their ranks while the students insist that these were Trinamool Congress (the ruling party of the state of West Bengal) cadres. The official position of the Calcutta Police is that "minimum lawful force" was applied to escort the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the committee out of the University.
Demonstrations showing solidarity with the students started in Kolkata and across India, including in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Protest marches in Kolkata had progressively increasing turnout, culminating in a rally on September 20, at the end of which a delegation of students met the Governor of West Bengal, Keshari Nath Tripathi. Estimates of participants in the rally fluctuate between 30000 and over 100000 people.
The protests have been marked with a strong cultural flavour: students have been singing, dancing and arranging diverse cultural manifestations throughout the days while the protests ensue. The protests have a large oeuvre of posters, graffiti, poems, songs, slogans, street plays and performances dotting the University campus and the streets of Kolkata. This has led the Trinamool Congress to link this protest to the student movements of the 1970s. It is one of the first movements in India to significantly employ social media and internet activism for coordination and dissemination. (Photo by Indranil Aditya)