(Liberation salutes Ram Karan Nirmal, Amrendra Kumar Arya and Surendra Nigam, the three students who raised slogans against Modi at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University Convocation. The students, protesting Modi’s silence on Rohith Vemula’s suicide, raised slogans of “Modi, go back,” “Modi Murdabad,” “Inquilab zindabad, Phule Ambedkar zindabad,” and “Rohith ham sharminda hain, Dronacharya abhi zinda hain.” We reproduce below their statements, as reported by Omar Rashid in The Hindu, Jan 23, 2016. On the day of Modi’s visit to Lucknow, activists of AISA also showed black flags to him en route.)
“Every day we hear of discrimination against Dalits and Muslims. We see bias in every walk of life. We also have been mentally harassed in our university, BBAU, which faces institutionalised bias. Through our protest, we wanted to call out every atrocity faced by students like Rohith. We feel like responsible citizens who have the right to dissent. If given a chance we will do it again …
“PM Modi tweets every minor and random thing — be it a Mayor election or wishing somebody on their birthday. But he has not said anything on issues of grave injustice, like the murders of Akhlaq, Dabolkar and Kalburgi…” – Amarendra Arya, LLM graduate
“What delayed him for so many days? Just because we protested he was forced to shed crocodile tears. He was forced to speak up merely for fear of losing Dalit votes in the 2017 elections…” – Surendra Nigam, teaches at a private college in Mirzapur
“There is institutionalised saffronisation at play. Talk of Mandir-Masjid instead of education. And as citizens we are worried by the trend. We thought of no better platform than this to get our voices heard…. If we were Muslim, we could so easily have been branded terrorists…. I was evicted from the Siddhartha Boys’ Hostel. My boarding for the night was cancelled though my room was booked for January 21 and 22.” – Ram Karan Nirmal, gold medalist in human rights.