No End To Harassment, Abuse And Violence In Campuses Around Kerala

Posted by Thasni Salim in Campus Watch, Caste, Society
January 23, 2017

Campuses in Kerala are under high pressure these days. Things started when two Dalit students were brutally ragged in Nattakom Polytechnic College, Kottayam, by senior students. Avinash, the boy from Thrissur, was  injured and his two kidneys got damaged in the incident. As per the complaint, around nine senior students of Government Polytechnic at Nattakom subjected ‘first year students’ to ragging, late on 2nd December, 2016. The junior students were forced to go to the senior’s room and strip naked.The students claim they were asked to complete 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups. Then they had to run and crawl in the room. The juniors were first asked to sit in a corner of the room and then asked to stand on one leg .The ragging would only stop if the junior students could memorise an obscene song sung by seniors. The senior students were charged with a case under the Scheduled Caste And Tribe (Prevention And Atrocities) Act and Anti-Ragging Act. The Human Rights Commission registered a suo motu case and sought clarification from the police, college authorities and the Board Of Technical Education.

The next incident was reported from Pampady Engineering College, Thrissur, when first-year B.Tech student Jishnu Pranoy committed suicide due to the insult and mental assault received from the college management. There is a room located in the campus in Idamuri, which is used to harass students physically. The management says that Jishnu had cheated in the examination hall and was, therefore, called to the office for clarification. But the students of Nehru college and his classmates argued that he had not cheated in the examination hall. The PRO of the college had entered the examination hall and had only noticed that Jishnu was just turning his head. He came to the conclusion that Jishnu was cheating. The mental stress and threat from the management made him commit suicide.

Students from various parts of Kerala joined their hands in their call for justice for Jishnu. The Nehru College was smashed by various student organisations. The hashtag #JusticeForJishnu has gone viral in social networking sites also.

In response to Jishnu’s suicide, students from various management colleges came out with similar experiences that they have had to face at the hands of the college managements. Students from Toms Engineering College, Mattakkara, Kottayam, had some of the worst allegations. The manager would stay in the ladies’ hostel till late at night and compel students to work in his house. The students have had to pay  huge fines for ‘silly matters’. The students of the Law Academy in Trivandrum also reacted to the rules set up by the management. They mainly complained about the principal Lekshmi Nair, who was a famous anchor in a Malayalam cookery show. The girls and boys are not allowed to talk in the college campus. The students are therefore protesting against these rules.

Vivek Kumaran, a Dalit MPhil scholar of the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, was attacked and beaten by SFI (Students’ Federation Of India) leaders of the campus. Vivek says that he had been beaten by the SFI leaders and that they used to threaten him for organising students against the SFI . The SFI unit of the Mahatma Gandhi University said that he sold ganja and drugs in the college hostel. Vivek was admitted in the Medical College Hospital for three days with severe injuries. The CSDS (Cherama Sambava Development Society of Kottayam) called a strike on the Kottayam district for this reason.

The Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam was also in a high pressure. The students and a few teachers are protesting here against the principal N.L. Beena. SFI students burned the chair of the principal and shouted slogans demanding her resignation. The students alleged that the principal is doing ‘moral policing’ in campus and that she has said that the female students are coming to the college to ‘cosy up’ to male students. The principal has pressed various cases against the students and has stated that the students and a few teachers are trying to end the ‘autonomous provisions’ given to the college. At the same time, the students responded that the principal has established a ‘dictatorship’ in college.

Three students, one boy and three girls of the Sree Keralavarma College, Thrissur, were admitted in the hospital due to an attack by the SFI on them. These students were members of AISA (All India Students Association). The AISA unit of the Sreekerala Varma College registered a complaint against them and called for an impartial investigation.

A student of Padyam Chollal HS School was admitted in the hospital after the SFI attack. His mother alleged that the SFI students attacked him for not attending a party meeting.

As a whole, it is the one of the worst times for campuses around Kerala. The attacks on the Dalits and the ragging and mental assaults in the campuses has brought shame to the whole state.