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Baroda Protest

Human Chain in Baroda

Artists from all over India came to Baroda on 14th May 2007 and they formed a human chain in front of the Faculty of Fine Arts in order to send a message to the government and the hooligans that the art community is one and together. A report from Baroda.

14th May 2007 (Monday) was a crucial day for Baroda. The students and the faculty members reached the Faculty of Fine Arts for preparing the evening’s protest march. Strict measures were imposed by the University authorities so that only the students and faculty members with identity cards were allowed to enter inside the campus. “On Sunday night the university authorities made some special meetings to curb the protest and also the made orders to bring in security forces to control the entry and exit in the faculty,” one of the Faculty members told .

By 12 in the morning the happy news reached the artists community. The arrested student, Chandramohan was released on a bail bond of Rs.5000. He was whisked away by the students and activists special wing and he is reported to have told not to talk to the media till the problems are solved. The students and activists are said to have keeping vigil to ensure the artist’s security. The lawyer who appeared for Chandramohan said that his affairs will be conducted smooth in future. Meanwhile, the suspended Dean of the Faculty, Dr.Shivji Panikkar continued to hide on Monday also. The state has not yet ensured the security to his life and property.

The protest meeting was supposed to happened by 2 pm. The alumni members and other artists camping in Baroda since the outbreak of problems reached the faculty in the morning itself. However, they were not allowed to enter the faculty. Following their heels the ABVP activists also reached the scene shouting slogans. Around fifty artists and art workers came to Baroda from Mumbai, Delhi and other parts of the country to express their solidarity.

As decided the protest meeting started at 2 pm and the police appeared soon. They asked the protestors to disband and threatened that more police force would be called in case of emergency. The artists said that they were doing peaceful demonstration, which the police was not ready to buy. They suspected escalation of violence thanks to the presence of the BJP, ABVP activists in the vicinity. The police arrested around twenty five students and kept them in custody for a few hours. Later they were released.

After much deliberation, the artists decided to call off the evening protest rally and formed a human chain along the Fateganj- Sayajiganj road. The media was present in full force and the artists demonstrated peacefully. The alumni representatives said that as the official holidays start from this week, the agitation would be resumed by June 15th once the faculty reopens. They said that they would continue their agitation until justice is gained. The artists who are camping in Baroda from Mumbai said that they would intensify the campaign from their respective locations so that the heat of the protest is not diminished. They condemned the university authorities and the state government for taking callous approach towards the Faculty of Fine Arts issue. They congratulated the artists community all over India, which is fighting for justice from their own places and extending support to Chandramohan and Dr.Shivji Panikkar.  


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