By Arsalan Mohammad:
At this juncture there is a stir around the country, heckled with arguments and confrontation that has occupied a foul space in the democracy. After the 2014 election victory of BJP at the Centre, many of the issues have come up that has occupied a major space in primetime debates, managing to suppress issues which are lethal and felicitous. Issues facing, farmers, the poor, Dalits, Muslims, Christians, students, tribals and so on.
Recently there have been gross human rights violation in Kashmir, where lethal guns were used against the country’s own civilians. In 2015, Akhalaq of Dadri, UP was lynched by a mob in accusation of possessing beef. On May 19, 2015, Muhammad Majloom and a minor Azad Khan, a 15-year-old-boy, were hanged from a tree by Gau Raksha Dal in Latehar district in Jharkhand. In September this year, four tribals were killed and more than 40 were injured by the state police atrocity in Hazaribag, Jharkhand when they were protesting against the land accusation by NTPC done with the consent of the BJP-ruled government.
Lakhs of farmers have committed suicide in the last two decades. Rohit Vemula, a research scholar of Hyderabad Central University became victim of campus discrimination leading to his institutional murder. Students of JNU were arbitrary detained earlier this year because of a so-called ‘anti-national’ slogans that was chanted inside campus. A student of JNU, Najeeb Ahmad has been missing for more than a month. The controversy of Najeeb’s missing broke out after a fiery talk with some right-wing groups at the hostel mess.
Likewise, there have been numerous incidents of repression, suppression, human rights violations, discrimination and so on that have occupied a big space in the country’s discourse.
Now when we see this happening, it’s highly important to understand the role of activists, students and other intellectual sections of the society. We have seen people like Irom Sharmila who was on hunger strike for more than 16 years against the draconian AFSPA Act. Teesta Setalvad has been fighting for the justice of the 2002 Gujarat riot victims in which Congress MP Ehsan Jaffery was also lynched. Arundhati Roy has been speaking and writing against the violation of human rights in Kashmir. A renowned investigative journalist Rana Ayyub has exposed many inside stories of Gujarat in her book “Gujrat Files”. And likewise there are many others who are fighting for different causes and barbarism prevailing inside the country. Almost all of them are facing different charges, trials and have threats to their lives.
At this point of time, it’s highly important for the students of different universities to join hands with all those who have been victimised and repressed in the country. History gives testimony to the fact that students have played a pivotal role in the freedom struggle of India. When Bengal was partitioned by Lord Curzon in 1905, students agitated against it in large numbers. In Gandhiji’s struggle against the Rowlatt Act of 1919, students embedded the crowd in huge numbers. In 1936, a students’ political party, All India Students’ Federation (AISF) was formed to support the INC. Even in recent days we have seen students of AMU, HCU, JNU, AU, Jadhavpur University etc. agitating in scads against the students and human rights violations in the country.
In today’s context, collective activism is the need of the hour. Identities of suppressed and repressed communities should be taken up with a humanitarian approach. It’s highly important for the students of different universities and colleges to come out on the streets and use their constitutional and democratic rights of dissent and protest.
Also, there is an immense need to stand in solidarity and support the activists who are fighting for legitimate and genuine causes in the country against the fascist tendencies and the ruling dispensation that are trying to break the secular and pluralistic character of the country. We had torch-bearers like Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Maulana Azad, B. R. Ambedkar and countless others who propounded the idea of India. India, being the country of youth, embeds the responsibility to hold back the legacy of the makers of free India. If we go on this way, today’s youth shall be the makers of peaceful, buoyant, powerful and developed India with its rich diversity and culture, that makes it distinct in the world.