The CPI(M)’s student wing, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), on August 1 launched five ‘jathas’ (foot marches) across the country, called the ‘March for education’, to protest against the National Education Policy and ask for its withdrawal. . Out of five jathas, two will reach Kolkata on September 2, covering 22 districts of West Bengal and covering more than 2,500 kilometers, to participate in a student rally at College Street here.
At the rally, CPM state secretary Biman Bose will deliver the keynote address and a draft ‘Alternative Education Policy’, which aims to replace the National Education Policy, will be released, SFI sources said. The SFI leadership alleged that the Centre’s National Education Policy is not in the interest of poor and middle-class students and paved the way for privatization of education.
According to SFI sources, five of these jathas, which have passed through different parts of the country, will help strengthen the organization and create future strength for larger movements. After passing through Tripura and Assam, the North Eastern Jatha entered Bengal through Buksirhat in Cooch Behar and reached Malda covering several districts of North Bengal. Other groups of SFI students from Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha are traveling through various districts of South Bengal via Digha to East Midnapore. Besides the state leadership of SFI, its all-India general secretary Mayukh Biswas and central committee leaders Dipsita Dhar and Aishe Ghosh are also participating in these jathas, sources said.
SFI state secretary Srijan Bhattacharya said, “If we want to resist the cultural onslaught of the RSS-BJP, we must celebrate the ocean of humanity that has formed in this great diversity and our history of coexistence. As much as they talk about a one-dimensional society, we will highlight the history of Bengal full of tolerant multidimensional diversity.”
A CPM leader said, “We are demanding the withdrawal of the National Education Policy and have been getting support in several districts of Bengal. This will help us strengthen our organization. Unless we have a strong organization, we cannot fight against TMC in panchayat and Lok Sabha elections.”