ABVP vs Left: Kashmir, Azadi and Free­dom of Ex­pres­sion

ABVP claims it dif­fers with NSUI too on var­i­ous is­sues but con­fronta­tions are al­ways with Left which ‘man­u­fac­tures’ anger; Left-lean­ing SFI says BJP pro­mot­ing goondaism in planned man­ner

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: Stu­den­tu­nion­clash­e­sat Delhi Univer­sity’s Ram­jas Col­lege have hit head­lines amid a busy poll sea­son and they re­flect a pat­tern. From Hy­der­abad Univer­sity to Jawa­har­lal Nehru Univer­sity to the Delhi Univer­sity, the is­sues that have pro­voked­stu­dent­con­fronta­tion­sarea clutchof in­ter­re­late­dis­sues:Kashmir, ter­ror­ism, the de­bate around ‘Azadi’ and the free­dom of ex­pres­sion. The key con­fronta­tion is also, re­peat­edly be­tween stu­dent groups aligned to the Left par­ties and the RSS’s stu­dent wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vid­yarthi Par­ishad (ABVP).

While pub­lic mem­ory con­nects the stu­dents ag­i­ta­tion at the Hy­der­abad Univer­sity to Ro­hith Vem­ula’s sui­cide and sense of dis­crim­i­na­tion ow­ing to his caste, a re­vi­sion of the his­tory of his ex­pul­sion takes one back to a protest against Bom­bay blasts ac­cused YakubMenon’shang­ing.Vem­ula,part of theAmbed­karS­tu­den­tAs­so­ci­a­tion, was ex­pelled from the Univer­sity hos­tel af­ter a con­fronta­tion with the var­sity ABVP pres­i­dent over this protest.

Months later, the de­bate erupted in the Jawa­har­lal Nehru Univer­sity — seen by many as the Left bas­tion. A pub­lic event at the var­sity where al­leged ‘azadi’ slo­gans were raised caused a mas­sive up­roar bring­ing the cops into the cam­pus and throw­ing up a new stu­dent leader in Kan­haiya Ku­mar.

Ram­jas Col­lege in DU now fits in an­other piece to the pic­ture with a protest over a sem­i­nar by a col­lege depart­ment wherein JNU Stu­dents Union vice pres­i­dent Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid—the man at the eye of the storm in the JNU ag­i­ta­tion over azadi slo­gans—were in­vited to speak.Ami­dob­jec­tion­sraised­bystu­dent of­fice bear­ers in the col­lege and ABVP, the in­vi­ta­tions were with­drawn and the or­gan­is­ers de­cided to dis­con­tinue the sem­i­nar in protest. The heat, how­ever, ended in ugly cam­pus vi­o­lence with ev­ery side blam­ing the other, the Delhi po­lice step­ping in and jour­nal­ist end­ing up thrashed this week.

“What ex­actly is the is­sue here? Thi­sis­be­ing­donepur­posely­bysome sec­tions. This is the ur­ban face of anti-na­tion­al­ism to con­fuse peo­ple and ex­ploit the so­cial fault lines for di­vi­sive mo­tives. Us­ing la­bels like ‘goondaism’ for ABVP is un­fair. How manypeo­ple­didABVPs­tu­dents­beat up at HCU or JNU or here? In fact, ABVP’s Sushil Ku­mar was thrashed at HCU. There are 750 uni­ver­si­ties and 42,000 col­leges and just three places have this is­sue and that is be­cause some po­lit­i­cal pow­ers cre­ated such cen­tres which are in turn caus­ingnui­sance.ABVPwill­coun­terthis strongly at an in­tel­lec­tual level across cam­puses. We will also re­quest the gov­ern­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion to act against anti-na­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, ” Am­bekar told ET. Saket Bahuguna of ABVP’s Na­tional Me­dia Con­venors says, “NSUI is one of the largest stu­dent groups and we dif­fer with them on var­i­ous ide­o­log­i­cal is­sues but you will no­tice that the con­fronta­tions are al­ways with the Left who ‘man­u­fac­ture’ anger and dis­sent.

VikramSingh,Pres­i­dentof theLeft lean­ing Stu­dent Fed­er­a­tion of In­dia, ac­cuses ABVP of de­fam­ing the stu­dent union move­ment. “The cen­tral gov­ern­ment and BJP are in a very planned way pro­mot­ing goondaism,” Singh added.

NSUI Na­tional Sec­re­tary An­gel­ica Aribam termed ABVP a ‘blot in the name of stu­dent ac­tivism’. Shelha Rashid, JNUSU Vice Pres­i­dent told ET that that while ABVP has been around for years what has changed now is the ‘in­sti­tu­tional ‘ and Cen­tral back­ing for it.

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