HCU to JNU: Save Campuses! Save Democracy! Save India!
Resist RSS-BJP Govt’s Assault on HCU, JNU, Higher Education!
Release Arrested JNU Students! Remove sedition and other motivated charges from JNU students!
Scrap sedition from IPC! Revoke Suspension of 8 JNU Students!
Enact Rohith Act to end caste discrimination in universities and higher educational institutions!
Smriti Irani Must Resign For Misusing Power, Crackdown and Spreading Misinformation Against HCU and JNU Students!
Bhagat Singh this time don’t be born an Indian
Patriots are still punished with hanging today
If you speak for people, you’ll be called a traitor,
Let alone strikes – you’ll be jailed even if you give a speech!
The Modi Government has waged war on campuses and on the right to dissent – from FTII to IIT-Madras, to HCU and JNU and now Allahabad University. If one young life – that of Rohith Vemula – was snuffed out in this war, several other young JNU students charged with ‘sedition’ are facing vilification, arrest, suspension and custodial violence. However, the war on students of HCU and JNU has backfired badly on the BJP. People all over India have taken up the JNU students’ cry for azaadi from capitalism, casteism, and communalism. They have admired Rohith Vemula and JNU students for their commitment and love for India’s people. And people are realising that those BJP and RSS leaders who beat up journalists and activists, threaten to cut off Kanhaiya’s tongue or shoot him dead, threaten to thrash Jadavpur students, think that being called ‘prostitute’ is an abuse that must be hurled against JNU women students and repeatedly brand Rohith Vemula as anti-national have no ‘desh prem’, but only hatred and contempt for democracy and people’s rights in India.
Rohith was expelled from his University based on faked ‘injuries’ by an ABVP leader. He and his comrades were branded as “Anti-national, casteist and extremist” for being Ambedkarites, for raising voice against communal riots. Eight students including JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, JNUSU General Secretary Rama Naga, former JNUSU President Ashutosh Kumar and former Vice President Anant Prakash Narayan, as well as Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, have been suspended from their University and accused of sedition based on fake videos, fake tweets and fake ‘intelligence reports’. As in Rohith’s case, they have also been branded ‘Anti-national” for challenging RSS-BJP’s politics. The vilification and expulsion of Rohith and the JNU students was incited by ABVP and led by BJP MPs. Far from learning its lesson from the tragic consequences of the witch-hunt of Rohith Vemula, the Modi Government has repeated the witch-hunt of student activists on an even more vicious scale in JNU.
Rohith and JNU students, from deprived and poor backgrounds of rural India, manage to reach Universities, study, make Universities more accessible to the poor and deprived of the country, and raise the voices of the marginalised. They led struggles against corporate takeover of higher education, against slashing of fellowships, against handover of India’s higher education to WTO. BJP and RSS have cited the subsidy JNU gets, to ask, why JNU students speak against the Government that gives them subsidy. We would like to tell them: public funded equitable quality higher education as well as political liberty are fundamental rights of the students and youth of this country, subsidy for education is not a charity nor it can come at the cost of suppression of our democratic rights to dissent, debate and question. Universities are funded by the toil of workers and peasants – and that is why JNU students speak for them. Modi and his Ministers are afraid of Rohith and JNU and other student activists, because they expose the Government’s anti-student, anti-poor attitude.
After certain unfortunate slogans were raised on 9 February in JNU, the JNU Students’ Union as well as all progressive and democratic organisations in JNU condemned these divisive slogans calling for “destruction” of India. However it is now evident that the issue of these slogans is merely a pretext for the government to unleash an all-out crackdown on JNU which has steadfastly opposed fund cuts in education and all anti-student, anti-people policies of the government.
After all, when Ministers of the Central Govt seek to divide Indians into Ramzade and Haramzade, those who eat beef and those who don’t, when they oppose inter-caste and inter-faith marriages, when they call Dalit massacre victims ‘dogs’, are they not breaking India into bits? When the RSS supporters kill people for what they think – from Gandhi to Dabholkar to Kalburgi, are they not destroying India? By resisting these forces it is the students who are defending the unity of India’s people.
One of the most prominent pro-BJP figures, actor Anupam Kher, has called the crackdown on campuses from HCU to JNU as ‘pest control,’ while leaders of BJP and ABVP have called for campuses to be ‘purged’ and ‘sanitised’ of Leftists and progressive activists. Was Rohith Vemula one of the ‘pests’ that the BJP purged from HCU to sanitise the campus? Such dehumanizing language is reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany, and also of more recent remarks by BJP leaders comparing Dalit and Muslim victims to dogs, puppies and so on.
When the Government grabs land and resources from peasants and adivasis and hand them over to MNCs, when they unleash repression on workers, when they sell out higher education to WTO, when they jeopardise their future by denying them jobs are they not destroying India? It is the students of JNU and the country’s students and youth, as well as its people’s movements, that are truly patriotic, truly defending India’s people from destruction.
The courageous student and youth movement in support of Rohith Vemula and JNU has effectively ripped off the cloak of RSS’s ‘nationalism’ and exposed the Government’s real agenda of cracking down on constitutional liberties, crushing voices of dissent against the Hindutva and pro-corporate agenda, using assaults and murderous attacks by Sanghi thugs as well as the might of the police machinery.
This student movement has also thoroughly exposed the role of certain media channels in inciting hatred and violence against JNU students, using fabricated videos and other fabricated materials. This shameful conduct is in contrast to the courage shown by some journalists, including one young journalist who resigned from one such channel and exposed its role in manipulating videos to incite anti-JNU and anti-Left frenzy.
The Sanghi hate-campaign against JNU raises slogan such as ‘Jo Afzal ki baat karega, voh Afzal ki maut marega’ (Anyone who speaks of Afzal Guru will meet Afzal Guru’s fate), even as the BJP is poised to form Government in Jammu and Kashmir once again with the PDP, which calls Afzal’s hanging a ‘travesty of justice’ and seeks to bring Afzal’s remains back to Kashmir.
But it is no longer hidden that the hatred against ‘Afzal ki baat’ is only a pretext: even ‘Ambedkar ki baat’ (ideas of Dr Ambedkar) are met with hatred and violence. The Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP, fired at Prof Vivek Kumar of JNU in Gwalior recently, when he was about to speak at a public meeting on ‘India of Ambedkar’s Dreams’. The BJYM vandalised copies of the Indian Constitution, as well as other writings of Dr Ambedkar.
The BJP, RSS and ABVP are unable to hide their hatred and disgust for Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution. By allowing ‘lawyers’ and a BJP MLA to beat up students, teachers and journalists unchecked inside Court premises, the Modi Government is sending a message of contempt for the Constitution.
In the meeting of Vice Chancellors convened by the HRD Minister Smriti Irani, there was conspicuous silence on the burning issues of Dalit suicides on campuses, on the recommendations of the Thorat Committee report including the demand for enactment of a ‘Rohith Act’ to curb caste discrimination on campuses. There was also silence on the move to slash scholarships and impose WTO rules on India’s higher education. Instead, the Minister shamefully sought to hide these burning issues under the diktat to fly the tricolour on all campuses – ignoring the fact that the tricolour already flies in most campuses.
The Sangh Parivar and Modi Government are the admirers of Savarkar (who betrayed the freedom struggle by seeking ‘mercy’ from the British) and Godse (the terrorist who killed Gandhi); they have always feared and hated the legacies of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh. Now, they are engaged in a desperate attempt to brand the followers of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh as ‘anti-national.’ They will certainly fail in this bid – and the brave young followers of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh will give them a fitting rebuff, and save democracy from the Sanghi onslaught.
Thousands are on the streets today to realise Dr. Ambedkar’s vision of Annihilation of Caste in India. The present upsurge claims the freedom envisioned by Bhagat singh– “A radical change therefore is necessary and it is the duty of those who realise this to reorganise society on the socialistic basis. Unless this is done and the exploitation of man by man and of nations by nations which goes masquerading as imperialism is brought to end, the sufferings and carnage with which humanity is threatened today can not be prevented and all talks of ending wars and ushering in an era of universal peace is undisguised hypocrisy”
23rd March was when Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British rulers. 14th April this year marks the culmination of 125th Birth Anniversary year of Babasaheb Ambedkar. AISA-RYA appeals everyone to join the campaign- Naye Bharat ke Wastey, Ambedkar-Bhagat Singh ke Rashtey from 23rd March to 14th April.