Tag Archives: Student Protest

Rise in Rage – Message of Solidarity for HCU Students: Anirban Bhattacharya and Umar Khalid

Guest Post by Anirban Bhattacharya & Umar Khalid

“We dissent, therefore we are”
The times we are living in are audacious. As the brahmanical Hindutva fascist forces in collaboration with big corporates are attempting to browbeat (or even just beat) us into silence, what better time than today to be audacious, to show our audacity. And that is precisely what Rohith Vemula did, both in his life as well as in his death. He dared to dissent against the brahmanical and communal structures of discrimination and oppression. He posed a graver “national security threat” because he was not just speaking up against the oppression against the Dalits, but also tried to build solidarities with other oppressed communities – the Muslims and other minorities. 
Of course, this invited the wrath of the powers that be – of Manu-Smriti Irani, of Bandaru Dattatreya, of the puppet VC Appa Rao and the puppeteer – the RSS. This earned him the epithet of “anti-national” as he was murdered institutionally by the communal-casteist apparatus of the state. The motive of the state was to “teach him a lesson” and “teach a lesson” to all those voices who dared to be audacious. But in vain. Rohith’s murder sparked a fire that spread across the country – across universities – demanding justice for Rohith. The need was felt by the RSS/BJP to “teach a lesson” yet again. In JNU the attack came in the form of the facile “national/anti-national” debate. When this was thwarted, in HCU it came in the form of the re-installation of the puppet VC Appa Rao.

This, of course, was an insult to the cause of justice for Rohith. It was an affront to the very idea of social justice. And it was a direct challenge to all democratic voices in the country. This outrage, this indignation could not have been taken lying low. The students in HCU yet again showed their audacity as they rose in rage against the re-installation of a killer VC. And this was met with a brutal lathi-charge by the Telangana Police, a fascist witch-hunt of student activists and teachers, their arrest on bogus charges, suspension of mess-water-electricity-internet and other facilities. The university has been turned into a war-zone.

Today universities and educational institutions across the country are being turned into war-zones and prison houses. It’s a shame today that heads of institutions and VCs – whether in FTII or HCU – are being escorted into their own campuses under police protection. On the one hand the institutionalized discrimination against Dalits and other oppressed castes is either forcing students to drop-out or hang themselves thereby necessitating the incessant demand for a Rohith Act. While on the other hand, through a concerted effort the state is imposing the brahmanical Hindutva fascist agenda of the RSS in course-curriculum. On the one hand, the state is pursuing a policy of massive fund cuts, fee-hikes or privatization so as to make higher education unaffordable for a large section – particularly the oppressed caste/class. On the other hand, to achieve the same, the ruling classes have been preparing to quell all possible resistance to the above through depoliticizing campus-spaces and curbing any and every voices of dissent. Such are the diktats, the exigencies of the insatiable thirst of global capital for profit in its bid to overcome the inherent crisis. While such anti-student pro-privatization policies were set in motion by the erstwhile Congress governments with all earnest, under the present regime, further velocity and teeth has been added to the same. The tightening tentacles of fascism in the country with RSS at its helm has only meant further witch-hunt, increasing militarization, casteist targeting, and shrinking of democratic space for debate and dissent in campuses.  

But, much to the irritation of those in Nagpur, the more vicious has been the assault, the more spectacular has been the resistance. From being against the bogey of Love Jihad to being for Kiss of Love, from being against Ghar Wapsi to calling the bluff on Swacch Bharat, from being against Dadri killing to exposing the farce of Make in India, from Hokkolorob to Pinjatod, from FTII to IIT-Madras, from Allahabad to Calicut, from Occupy UGC to Justice for Rohith, from Stand with JNU to Stand with HCU – there is a students’ spring today that swells across the country. We the students, today, are the opposition. And it is this strength that was exhibited in the streets of Delhi when Justice for Rohith and Stand with JNU merged into a sea of resistance.

If we look back in history, at times when the ruling classes has intensified its assault upon the people across the world, it is the students who have taken up a vital share of responsibility to speak up, to dissent. And more often than not we have seen various such youth and student movements talking to each other, drawing from each other, inspiring each other and thereby strengthening each other. The Black Panther movement influenced the Dalit Panthers. The struggle in Vietnam triggered massive anti-war demonstrations across the universities in America. The students of France 68 inspired millions of students across Europe and the world. The Cultural Revolution led by students in Maoist China inspired millions including the students during the Naxalbari movement which in turn inspired thousands across the subcontinent. Similarly it is important today that the movements whether of the Dalits, the women, the minorities, the LGBTIQ community, the workers, the peasants – should all speak to each other and gain strength from each other. At a time of ascendant fascism, it is imperative that we build solidarities forged in struggles. Because, even today if we remain divided into red, blue and green and so on, even if today we remain divided in HCU and JNU – fascism will ensure that tomorrow none survives. Maintaining our ideological differences – our colours, sharpening our tools of criticism and self-criticism, we must shun the path of sectarianism and build genuine unity of the oppressed against the combined assault of the brahmanical Hindutva fascist forces and the forces of big capital. 

The attack today is relentless. So has to be the resistance. The bail orders for a few individuals in a campus can be a small battle won, but the war is far from over and there can be no respite today. We are confronting fascism today; it is a difficult fight, and no one ever said it would be easy. Let us fight for the release of the students and teachers put behind bars in Hyderabad and in the process let us intensify the struggle to oust Appa Rao, to seek justice for Rohith, to challenge the brahmanical fascist forces and their tightening noose.

Rise in Rage against the reinstallation of Appa Rao, the killer of Rohith Vemula as VC in HCU.

Condemn the brutal crackdown and arrests of students and teachers by Telangana Police.
Anirban Bhattacharya & Umar Khalid are both students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Delhi

International Statement of Solidarity by Academics, Activists, Artists and Writers with University of Hyderabad

Over 300 academicians, activists, artists and writers condemn the state violence and unlawful detention of faculty and student protesters of the University of Hyderabad.

If you would like to endorse this statement please send your name and institutional affiliation (if any) to justiceforhcu@gmail.com 

We, academicians, activists,  artists and writers, condemn the ongoing brutal attacks on and unlawful detention of peacefully protesting faculty and students at the University of Hyderabad by the University administration and the police. We also condemn the restriction of access to basic necessities such as water and food on campus.

The students and faculty members of the University of Hyderabad were protesting the reinstatement of Dr. Appa Rao Podile as the Vice-Chancellor despite the ongoing judicial enquiry against him related to  the circumstances leading to the death of the dalit student Rohith Vemula on January 17th, 2016. Students and faculty members of the university community are concerned that this may provide him the opportunity to tamper with evidence and to influence witnesses. Suicides by dalit students have been recurring in the University of Hyderabad and other campuses across the country.  The issue spiraled into a nationwide students’ protest with the death of the dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. The protests have pushed into the foreground public discussion and debate on the persistence of caste-based discrimination in  educational institutions, and surveillance and suppression of dissent and intellectual debate in university spaces.

Since the morning of March 22 when Dr. Appa Rao returned to campus, the students and staff have been in a siege-like situation.  The peacefully protesting staff and students were brutally lathi-charged by the police, and 27 people were taken into custody. The 27 detainees were untraceable for 48 hours, brutally tortured, and denied legal access. In short, all legal procedures of detention have been suspended. After the incident, the university has been locked down with no access to food, water, electricity, and Internet connectivity.   Students were brutally assaulted when they opened community kitchens.  Lawyers and members of human rights organization as well the ordinary citizens of the city were denied access to students. University of Hyderabad is one of India’s biggest public universities.

We have followed, with deep concern, similar violent attacks and undemocratic crackdown on students on the campuses of Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Film and Television Institute of India, the University of Allahabad, Jadavpur University, Burdwan University, and others across the country. That the highest administrative authorities in the university have allowed the silencing of debate and dissent is unfortunate. We are disturbed by the pattern of growing nexus between student vigilante groups, youth wing of the ruling party, state and university authorities in colleges and university campuses across the country in order to mobilize the state machinery against vulnerable students. This has created a climate of fear and oppression in the country, and continually violates fundamental human and Constitutional rights of students.

We stand in support of the protesting students, staff and faculty of the University of Hyderabad and demand the following:

  1. Immediate withdrawal of police from the campus.

  2. Immediate release of, and withdrawal of all cases against, all arrested students and faculty.

  3. Suspension of the Vice-Chancellor P. Appa Rao.

  4. Judicial enquiry into the role of the HRD Ministry, the HRD Minister and Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya in inciting violence against Dalits on campus.

  5. Independent enquiry into the incidents of violence on the campus including the role of the ABVP in vandalising the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

  6. Action against police personnel named by students in their complaints.

  7. Passage of the “Rohith Act” against caste discrimination in education.

Signatories

  1. Lawrence Cohen, Director, Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley Continue reading International Statement of Solidarity by Academics, Activists, Artists and Writers with University of Hyderabad

JNUSU Statement on the Police Action and ABVP slander in JNU: JNUSU

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. Continue reading JNUSU Statement on the Police Action and ABVP slander in JNU: JNUSU

Operation Ekalavya : Jhandewala, New Delhi, Rohith Vemula’s Birthday, 30th January 2016

Dear young friends who went to Jhandewala on Rohith Vemula’s birthday,

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And all those who were there in spirit, in Delhi, Hyderabad and elsewhere. I am writing to you because I think you might have all taken things much further than anyone can quite imagine or understand at present.

I am writing to you, for today and for tomorrow, so that every time in the future that young people gather to celebrate their friend Rohith’s birthday, we might all begin to have a different kind of conversation. So that the boundaries between mourning and celebration, between anger and joy may always remain blurred enough for us to know what to do next, each time.

Since you had a close encounter with the police and their colleagues in the RSS on Rohith’s birthday, I want to spend a little time thinking about them with you. Bear with me. I sincerely hope we will not have to bear with them for much longer.

Continue reading Operation Ekalavya : Jhandewala, New Delhi, Rohith Vemula’s Birthday, 30th January 2016

Students Occupy UGC to Defend the Right to Research in Universities Across India: Sucheta De

Guest Post by Sucheta De.

[ Videos by V. Arun, Om Prasad, Akhil Kumar, with Facebook Post Updates by Shehla Rashid and Akhil Kumar ]

 

#SaveNonNETfellowship: A movement for ensuring democratic, inclusive and pluralistic research in India

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.”

― Karl MarxThe German Ideology

JNUSU vice president Shehla Rashid addressing protestors at UGC
JNUSU vice president Shehla Rashid addressing protestors at UGC HQ, Delhi

On the afternoon of 21st October, students from several universities in Delhi began ‘Occupying’ the Delhi premises of the head-office of University Grants Commission (UGC) –  the government mandated body under the Ministry of Human Resources that is supposed to govern the functioning of universities across the country.  The occupation continued through the night of the 21st, the day of the 22nd, and is still currently in process. The students occupying the UGC premises have decided, as of now, not to let the UGC function. Goons from the BJP aligned students organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have now reached the UGC and are continuously harassing and abusing the student activists who are in ‘occupation’ of UGC. There is heavy police presence. There is a state of near siege at the UGC head quarters near ITO Chowk in Delhi.

Continue reading Students Occupy UGC to Defend the Right to Research in Universities Across India: Sucheta De

From Jadavpur to Everywhere #Hokkolorob – Let There be Clamour

#HOKKOLOROB
#HOKKOLOROB

More then one hundred thousand students and their friends (according to Kolkata Police estimates) defied the rain to walk in protest yesterday against the assault on Jadavpur University by Kolkata Police, backed by an insensitive University Vice Chancellor and a cynical State Government. There were students, ex students, professors, students from Presidency University, and many other colleges in Kolkata and the neighborhood, there were many ordinary citizens, some who had never been university students, and many who had stopped being university students a long time ago.

Continue reading From Jadavpur to Everywhere #Hokkolorob – Let There be Clamour

Notes from Jadavpur: Ahona Panda

Guest Post by Ahona Panda

About eight years ago, while lounging about doing nothing much in the campus of Jadavpur University where I was a student of the English department, I came across some callously etched graffiti:

Jodi prem na dile praane
Tobe Jadavpure pathanor ki mane?
(If you haven’t given this life some love–
What is the point of sending one to Jadavpur?)

Eight years on I cannot imagine the luxury of lounging about doing nothing much. One moves on in life after graduating from Jadavpur University. Meanwhile, in home and the world, the complete freedom (some will persist in calling this anarchy) of the JU campus has made it a legend somewhat like Dirty Harry: either worship and put it in on a pedestal, or condemn it thoroughly. The reputation of JU since the infamous 1970s has been as a hub of constantly bubbling anarchism, where Naxalites are hatching their next program of action, where ignorant armies like SFI and other anti-SFI groups clash by night.

Continue reading Notes from Jadavpur: Ahona Panda