Official Press Release by the Student Juridical Association, NUJS
Last night six NUJS students were groped and brutally assaulted by a mob of goons. They were hired by the government contractor in charge of demolition of the Subhas Sarovar slums. This retribution came in light of a stay order from the Calcutta Hight Court obtained by our students under the aegis of IDIA to stop the demolition of the slum area where 22 families resided. This area was designated for a beautification project linked to the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Despite the stay order, the contractors demolished the slums at which point NUJS students went to the contractors with the copy of the Court order. On being confronted, the order was torn up, following which the female students were groped by multiple goons and the male students were grievously assaulted till they were unconscious. All their phones were smashed and completely destroyed by the goons. When the students tried to escape, the gates of the area (Subhas Sarovar- where the slum is located is a fenced enclosure) were shut and the goons continued to beat them up.
We, as students of law, have chosen to pursue law not as a mere profession but also as an instrument of social upliftment and change. Last night, when we stood for defending the rule of law that guarantees slum dwellers the right against arbitrary eviction, we were subjected to mob violence. When we approached the police, the registration of our complaint was persistently resisted for a few hours by the police.
As law students, this sequence of events has completely shaken our faith in all the institutions in place in our beloved country. Suddenly all those case studies from classes on the State’s failure where everyone has an impulse to take a stand – be it left, right or center seemed completely irrelevant. All those lofty ideals of social justice which we seek to learn and further through our education at our prestigious law schools were swiftly torn to bits along with the interim injunction.
This incident is a deep affront on our collective conscience. We firmly believe that we, as the law school fraternity, must stand together against this complete obliteration of the rule of law that we seek to defend and practice. We sincerely hope that in this hour of need, our collective conscience will inspire us to participate in defending and echoing the common ideals of liberty and rule of law that bind us together.
We also take this opportunity to express our gratefulness to the student bar associations of NLSIU Bangalore, NALSAR Hyderabad , HNLU Raipur, NLU Delhi, RMLNLU Lucknow, TNNLS Trichi, NLU Jodhpur, NLUO Cuttack, NUSRL Ranchi, MNLU Mumbai, GNLU Gandhinagar, NLIU Bhopal, NLUA Guwahati and Nirma Institute of Law who have reached out to us showing solidarity.
Update: The councillor in question was issued a contempt notice by the Calcutta High Court the next day for violating the court’s earlier decision to stay on the demolition. In addition, two men were arrested and charged with “outrage of modesty” in connection with the assault and intimidation they had carried out with the NUJS students.