17. In many parts of the country students and youth from oppressed castes continue to face feudal violence and social discrimination and humiliation. The miserable conditions prevailing in hostels meant for dalit and adivasi students, shocking reports of systematic sexual exploitation of young tribal girls in some states, the inhuman ragging often faced by dalit-adivasi students in engineering colleges, and the recent attacks on dalit student hostels in Bihar in the wake of the killing of the Ranveer Sena chief give us an idea of the kind of plight and prejudices that students from disadvantaged social background have to experience within the education system and the larger society. Young people, especially Dalit youth, who marry in defiance of caste norms, have been at the receiving end
of violence at the hands of khap panchayats and regressive forces. The freedom of young people, especially young women, has been under attack from the Sangh Parivar and various fundamentalist outfits. The revolutionary student-youth movement must stand up boldly against feudal, casteist, communal, chauvinistic, patriarchal and sectarian violence in any part of the country.

18. SC/ST reservations in jobs often routinely go unfulfilled; and in the era of liberalisation, there are systematic attempts to undermine SC/ST and OBC reservations in jobs and education. AISA has led some significant and successful struggles against such attempts. AISA’s movement which led to a landmark verdict against the subversion of OBC quotas in universities was of national significance. The student movement must defend SC/ST and OBC reservations against the ideological assaults in the name of ‘merit’ as well as against the attempts to subvert such quotas.

19. In many parts of the country, Muslim and tribal youth find themselves at the receiving end of a relentless state-led witch-hunt campaign. Branded respectively as terrorists and Maoists, many innocent Muslim and adivasi youth have been implicated in false cases and are languishing in jail, while some have fallen prey to staged encounter killings or even custodial death. In Kashmir, Manipur and certain other areas where the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in operation, or in areas under the repressive Operation Greenhunt, large sections of the youth face a veritable war-like situation. The long arm of state repression also seeks to crush fundamental rights of citizens by slapping sedition charges or various clauses of the criminal law as has been seen in several recent cases. Students at the forefront of mass movements – such as for a separate Telangana and for justice for the Tamil victims of genocide in Sri Lanka – have been met with state repression. The question of defending liberty and democracy must therefore continue to be high on the agenda of the student-youth movement.

20. The massive participation of young men alongside young women in the recent upsurge against the Delhi gang-rape case has highlighted the need to recognise the question of resisting sexual assault and patriarchal violence as a key agenda of the youth movement. The point is not to merely seek exemplary punishment for a few rapists or to inculcate the spirit of chivalry among young men to protect the dignity of women, but to reject the patriarchal baggage lock, stock and barrel. This calls for a veritable revolt against the feudal-patriarchal order that continues to dominate the mass mindscape and mainstream social values and a major attitudinal change that can enable men to treat women as equal human beings in every sphere. The struggle between the rotten old system and our cherished values and dreams of democracy, freedom and equality manifests itself most sharply and with great intensity on the whole set of issues that are often loosely described as the women’s question. The student-youth movement must treat the question of women’s freedom and rights as a central part of the youth agenda, boldly uphold progressive democratic values, reject retrograde views and practices and resist moral policing or caste/community threats in matters of individual freedom.