The JNU Row Was Orchestrated, Say Former ABVP Members

Posted by Youth Ki Awaaz in Campus Watch, Staff Picks
February 9, 2017

By Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal:

Editor’s note: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal, both JNU students, resigned from JNU-ABVP last year over the alleged role played by ABVP because of differences with the organisation and its alleged involvement in incidents that happened on campus post 9th February.

It is a whole year since February 9, but JNU continues to recover from the aftershocks of Sangh Parivar’s attack on the university. This year, the attack has only intensified, now being carried out on democratic spaces, progressive admission policy and inclusive character. Inclusivity is the heart and soul of JNU, having been built by the varsity’s student movement over the course of the last four decades.

Last year’s attack was on our right to dissent, a move to curb our democratic spaces and to implement the fascist Hindutva agenda on our universities. This year, in the name of “academic quality” and “excellence”, by reducing seat intake & closing admission, they want to ensure that no one (from the marginalised communities) is able to access higher education in JNU.

We were members of ABVP before Feb 9 happened, and we subsequently resigned because of our differences with this fascist, casteist, Brahmanical and patriarchal organisation. These differences had been long standing ones. But after the orchestrated attack on JNU, we felt a limit had been crossed and we could no longer associate with ABVP.
We saw closely how the attack on JNU was orchestrated by BJP and RSS. The ABVP unit in JNU played a very important role in orchestrating this entire attack – that of foot soldiers who implemented the entire scheme. The immediate context of the attack on JNU was the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula. At the time when PM Modi was shedding crocodile tears about Rohith and saying Bharat Ma Ne Apna Ek Laal Khoya Hai (India lost one of its sons), in ABVP meetings Rohith Vemula was being called a “terrorist sympathiser” by the body’s national and state leaders.

JNU students protest at Gujarat Bhawan

Rohith’s suicide note had troubled us deeply and when we raised questions about it in ABVP meetings, we were branded as casteists who were unnecessarily worrying over the death of the “terrorist sympathizer”. The student movement post Rohith’s institutional murder had however shaken the entire regime, since the involvement of BJP and ABVP was clearly evident. They were desperate to somehow divert attention or suppress the movement.
It is already public knowledge how ABVP leaders invited Zee News inside the campus and this is how the media trial of JNU began.

The next day after this happened, it wasn’t random online trolls or even paid trolls from outside JNU who started the #ShutDownJNU campaign. Instead, it was leaders and office bearers of the ABVP unit of JNU who masterminded the entire #ShutDownJNU campaign on social media from the very premises of JNU itself. Which student, unless guided by very evil intent, would want to shut down the very university in which they are studying? But ABVP actually is that evil force – the agent of an anti-student government amongst students that can go to any extent possible to throttle dissent.

In those days, when some new development would happen every day, ABVP leaders interestingly had all the information much before the actual event. For example, the JNUSU President was arrested on the morning of February 12. But the ABVP leaders already knew on 10th February and had informed their members about impending arrests on campus. Who would be targeted and arrested was also carefully thought out and finalised. The prime focus was clear – to target left organisation activists and defame university professors by labelling them as supporters of Naxal activities and portraying them to be involved in so-called anti-national activities.

Very diligently in fact, ABVP leaders scanned social media profiles of several activists during this period, constantly informing those in the higher up to forward their names to the police. Students who were finally arrested had been on the target list of ABVP for many years and Parishad members would constantly take their names saying that we would frame them one day.

Activists from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), shout slogans during a protest march in New Delhi, India, February 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Adnan Abidi – RTX28BSL

We find it ridiculous when those who used to justify the witch-hunt of Rohith Vemula, abuse Ambedkar and defend Manusmriti in our presence; those who orchestrated the attack on JNU are trying to fool students by saying that they are also fighting for social justice. We appeal to students who are still part of ABVP to see through these things and to not become a part of the sinister game-plan of the government to attack its own university.

Before publicly resigning from ABVP, we did try to internally raise these issues and fight for reform from within. But over time, it became clear to us that an organisation like ABVP – which is built on the foundations of fascism and Brahmanism – cannot be reformed, and has to be rejected. They claim themselves to be the true nationalists, but in their understanding of nation and nationalism there is no space for Dalits, Muslims, Adivasis, women and sexual minorities. Let there be no doubt, ABVP’s brand of nationalism is just upper-caste male jingoism masquerading as nationalism.

We appeal to the rank and file of ABVP to shun this organisation, and become a part of the overwhelming progressive and democratic sections of this campus who are fighting an extremely spectacular battle against all odds. We appeal to students to isolate forces who assaulted Najeeb and are responsible for his disappearance. The lines are clearly drawn and we have to choose where we stand – on the side of social justice, life and dignity or on the side of manuwaad, destitution and constant humiliation that the ABVP/RSS/BJP represents.

We are talking about this on February 9, because we feel these fascist foot soldiers may once again want to orchestrate similar things this year with the same intentions – to defame the university, implicate student activists and break the ongoing struggle against the imposition of the UGC Gazette Notifications, against seat cuts and for social justice. Their lies and rumour mongering can never break student unity and resolve. We also appeal to students to unitedly strengthen the ongoing struggle for social justice, against UGC Gazette and seat cuts, and for justice for Najeeb!