AISA’s Uttarakhand state committee successfully held its fifth state-level conference on 21-22nd December in Dehradun. 50 representatives from 6 units across the state participated in the conference. The hall where the conference was held was named after former JNU Students’ Union President Comrade Chandrashekhar, who was shot dead on 31st March 1997 at the behest of former RJD MP Shahabuddin. Also, during the conference, the town was named after Comrade Nagendra Saklani who was martyred on 11th January 1948 in Kirtinagar fighting against monarchy in the Tehri region.
Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, AISA’s national President Sandeep Singh said that in the first decade of the 21st century, AISA has been increasing its reach in the student community, which is reflected in the increased support for the organization. In the entire country, people are becoming disillusioned with ruling governments. People have been thinking of ways and means of countering the growing assaults on campus democracy, corruption and the loot of public resources. Various government have clearly shown that they are hell-bent on converting education into a commodity which can accessed only with those with money to purchase it. Various scams have come to light, and the entire chain of forces which enable these scams to take place has also been revealed. Politicians, bureaucrats, heads of business houses and representatives of the corporate media have been implicated in these scams but no action is taken on them by the powers-that-be, because those implicated are the very same people essentially running the governments.
Comrade Ravi Rai, national general secretary of AISA, addressed the conference after Comrade Sandeep. He said that AISA had played a major role in the movement for an independent state of Uttarakhand. However, the intension of AISA’s participation in the movement for a separate statehood was not merely the formation of a state and bureaucratic apparatus separate from Uttar Pradesh – the intention of the movement for statehood was to ensure better job and education opportunities for the students and youth, as well as better facilities for poor farmers. Genuine development was to reach each village. The movement for statehood is not known despite these issues and these demands of the people, but rather because of these demands. In the days to come, AISA has to be an integral part of the peoples’ movement, and has to lead the student movement for realization of the dreams which drove the movement for statehood.
Comrade Girija Pathak, former President of the Kumaon Students’ Union and member of the CPI(ML) state committee also addressed the conference. He recalled that in 1984, when the powers-that-be introduced privatization for the first time, there was an overall atmosphere in favour of privatization. Many people felt that privatization could possibly improve their situation. At that time, it was our organization which started a debate amongst the people, pointing out that privatization would eventually destroy our aspirations for a dignified livelihood. When people were only seeing the policies without visualizing their impacts, it was AISA (PSO) which took on the responsibility of making people aware of the impacts of privatization. Today, the impacts of privatization are there for everyone to see.
The inaugural session was addressed by former AISA national President Comrade Indiresh Maikhuri, the Garhwal area in-charge of CPI(ML) Comrade Kailash Pandey, AICCTU state secretary Comrade K.K. Bora. The outgoing state committee then presented the political-organisation report, and various representatives commented on this report and participated in the debate on the report. The report was then passed by the conference.
In the concluding session, a 17-member state-level council was elected. The council then elected a 9-member executive, and 5 office bearers. Malathi was elected as President, Pawan Nautiyal as secretary, Lalim Matiyali and Varghese Vamola were elected Vice Presidents, while Ashish Kandpal was made the joint secretary.