Guest Post by Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid Shora and Rama Naga, office bearers, JNUSU
We, the office-bearers of JNUSU, are appalled at the way an uproar has been created over the 9th February incident that happened in JNU and the way the entire incident is being used to malign JNU students and the democratic traditions of JNU.
At the outset, we condemn the divisive slogans (‘bharat ke tukde honge hazar’) that were raised by some people on that day. It is important to note that the slogans were not raised by members of Left organizations or JNU students. In fact, when such sloganeering took place, it was the Left-progressive organizations and students, including JNUSU office-bearers who asked the organizers of the programme to ask the people who were raising the slogans to stop slogans that are regressive. The divisive slogans and the ideology behind it has never been a part of the progressive tradition that JNU and the JNUSU uphold. On the contrary, the unity of the people of different parts of the country in challenging divisive, authoritarian, anti-people and anti-student forces is what we stand with and look up to. Even in the recent times, the JNU student community and the JNUSU have joined nation-wide students’ voice to defend the country against casteist and authoritarian power lobbies. The Left-progressive organizations were present at the programme only to ensure that no violence takes place, as ABVP had called in hooligans from DU to disrupt the program and the general atmosphere in the campus. And so, to interpret our presence as endorsement of some divisive slogans which were raised by some (and was protested and stopped) is extremely mischievous and manipulative.The JNU administration, acting on the diktats of the ABVP, cancelled the permission for the program which it had earlier granted. This clearly points out that the administration is acting under ABVP’s pressure to silence any kind of differing view point. Universities are spaces of dialogue and discussion and, if a group is holding a peaceful programme, the administration cannot act under the pressure of one political group to silence another. The administration called in the police, but, surprisingly, the police did not act when ABVP members went into physical confrontation with the students, misbehaved with women and beat up students. ABVP called DU students to the JNU campus to help in beating up students, while the police, whose duty was to prevent violence, watched silently.
What happened in JNU on that day is a repeat of what happened in HCU with Rohith Vemula and his friends. Meetings, academic discussions and seminars on the death penalty awarded to Afzal Guru have been held in universities and law colleges for several years. Law universities are undertaking research into the question of death penalty for quite some time. However, under pressure from ABVP, the administration took a politically motivated stand and stood in subservience to the ABVP. Now, activists- even those who were not present at the occasion- are being threatened with disciplinary action, while the violence by ABVP goons is conveniently forgotten. Those people or organizations who differ wth ABVP are being branded “anti-national”- the same pattern done in HCU. ABVP has said that they would approach ministries to ensure “punishment” for various activists, once again suggesting that the ministries would accept their narrative uncritically and witch-hunt students.
The ABVP is a completely discredited organization and have been exposed in their government’s shameful role in withdrawing fellowships and other sectors of social spending as well as in cases of caste discrimination and witch hunt. The misrepresentation of certain political positions by ABVP is nothing but an attempt to cover-up the shame of various scams like Vyapam and the Bank Loan scam, the communal, casteist agenda of RSS, and the blatant commercialization of education.
These machinations are an attempt to produce communal divisions, ahead of some key elections, and the JNUSU urges all democratic sections to reject such baseless propaganda. JNUSU also urges the progressive democratic section to condemn the divisive sloganeering in unequivocal terms.
Kanhaiya Kumar, President, JNUSU
Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President, JNUSU
Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU