Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers on Tuesday (January 14) stormed into a Bengaluru college, which had anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) graffiti painted outside its campus, and allegedly warned the staff against allowing students to continue their protest against the contentious legislation.
The outer wall of Srishti Institute of Arts, Design and Technology in Yelahanka sported the graffiti of Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the phrase, “Sab changa si (everything is fine)”, referring to Modi’s speech at the diaspora event ‘Howdy Modi!’ held in Houston, US last year.
The BJP workers defaced the graffiti with saffron paint after allegedly warning the staff against the students’ protests. With the help of traffic police, the ruling party workers allegedly towed away the vehicles of students and professors of the college that were parked outside the campus. This comes nearly a week after the saffron party workers heckled students of Jyoti Nivas College in the city.
One of the students alleged the group of BJP workers, led by local MLA SR Vishwanath (political secretary to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa), warned the students against gathering in groups of more than six persons and that they would be monitored through security cameras on the street.
They also warned women against smoking in public and resorted to moral policing for wearing “short clothes”, the student said. It may be noted that while Bengaluru has been witnessing a series of pro-CAA campaigns by the BJP, incidents of moral policing and violent threats to educational institutions have now become quite frequent.
Fearing the safety of the students and the faculty, Geetha Narayanan, Director, Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology, told media they have declared holiday on January 16 and 17. In a meeting held with the students and the faculty, the administration has sought students not to dissent publicly, even artistically, and also lie low considering the safety of all students.
MLA Vishwanath did not answer queries regarding moral policing by the BJP workers. However, he said they created no ruckus in the college and only wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. Regarding the dress code imposition, he cited complaints by the locals and that the BJP workers did not raise such concerns.
The Bangalore City police are now investigating who drew the graffiti and are likely to detain the person behind it.
In another incident, shutters and walls of shops on Church Street were found painted with slogans such as “No CAA”, “No NRC”, “Free Kashmir” and “Fascist Modi Resign”. Cubbon Park Police is investigating the case. Based on security camera footage, they said two people were seen painting the walls at 3 am.
“A case under the Karnataka State Disfigurement Act is filed. Our team is investigating the case. We have deployed police to patrol the area at night to ensure this does not happen again,” said Chetan Singh Rathore, DCP, Central.