Amid allegations of moral policing at Jadavpur University (JU) campus, acclaimed historian and Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose here on Friday batted for safeguarding university spaces as outlets of free speech and expression.
"We have to safeguard varsities as spaces of free speech and expression. Varsities are the place where we develop important friendships that last forever. So that space must be maintained," Bose told the media here in response to a poser on the issue of moral policing on campuses.
The JU authorities had received complaints from a section of students about the alleged presence of "anti-Romeo squads" harassing students on campus. The varsity has denounced moral policing.
"We have received some complaints on such kind of activities. This type of moral policing is not applicable to universities," varsity registrar P.K. Ghosh told IANS.
Members of Arts Faculty Students' Union had pointed out that some people, allegedly belonging to RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), had interrupted students seated in different parts of the campus and had asked them to disperse.
"They identified themselves as members of anti-Romeo squads when students asked them about their identities. They didn't seem to be students of our university. They said they wouldn't tolerate obscenity," a student member of the union said.
However, ABVP state secretary Subir Haldar has dubbed the report as "fake news".
"It's a fake news that is doing the rounds. We are not interested in campus matters. The anti-Romeo squads were an administrative decision in Uttar Pradesh and so how can we be involved," Haldar told IANS.
Anti-Romeo squads were introduced by the recently-installed Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to curb instances of eve-teasing, which was one of the poll promises of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Later, such squads have also come up in Jharkhand, which is also under BJP rule.
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