Guest post by ALL INDIA STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION (AISA)
AISA and Students of Sociology Department (DU) Successfully Screen Jashn-e-Azaadi in DU, Braving Attacks and Threats by ABVP and ‘Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena’! Hundreds of Delhi University Students Participate in Film Screening and Discussion with Sanjay Kak, Director of Jashn-e-Azadi!!
Today hundreds of DU students and teachers participated the screening of the documentary film Jashn-e-Azaadi organized by AISA and students of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Delhi University. “Predictably this screening had to held in the teeth of opposition from right-wing fascist forces like ABVP and the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, who tried their level best to stall the screening. Moreover, the DU administration and the Delhi Police also shamefully sided with these forces and tried to pressurize the Sociology department to stop the screening”, said Harshvardhan Tripathi Secretary DU, AISA.
AISA had taken proper permission for this programme on Monday itself (13th of February, 2012). However, the DU administration and the Delhi police tried to prevent the movie from being screened. Since early this morning, the Delhi police kept calling the organizers (AISA representatives), stating that the Police has been receiving “threats” from ABVP and Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena. These forces openly told the Police that they would disrupt the screening, if it was allowed. “Instead of giving protection and preventing the hooligans from the entering the premises of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi police kept pressurizing the organizers to cancel the screening”, added Harshvardhan. The DU administration initially also tried to pressurize the sociology department and the organizers to cancel the programme.
However, the Sociology department stood firm in its defence of academic freedom. They demanded that the DU administration give in writing details of legal and academic grounds on the basis of which the film screening should be cancelled. Unable to give any logical response to this, the DU administration changed its stand and in a written statement, it told the Sociology department that the film screening could carry on. And so, the programme was held.
Commenting on today’s incident, director Sanjay Kak said, “By defending their right to screen the film, the Delhi School of Economics has stood for the best traditions of academic independence. And by coming in large numbers despite the intimidation, students have shown themselves to that trust. Thanks to AISA for showing the way.” The film screening in DU today was followed by a discussion with the director Sanjay Kak, who pointed out that disruption of his movie or any other talk on Kashmir serves the simple purpose of not letting the people know the reality in Kashmir.
AISA condemns the role of the Delhi police, which instead of preventing the goons from entering the premises of DSE, escorted them till the gates of Sociology department where they were stopped by the huge gathering of teachers and students. This incident should also be seen in the light of the DU administration’s recent move to remove AK Ramanujam’s essay ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas’ from BA History syllabus. Yesterday, several groups in DU (including AISA) unitedly organized a massive seminar in DU against such draconian attacks on academic freedom by right-wing forces. And today’s incident is yet another victory of progressive forces who have been fighting to reclaim the campus space from corporate and fascist take over. It is a victory for campus democracy, against hooliganism and for a culture of debate and discussion.