AISA organised poetry march in Delhi university and Jamia Millia Islamia against the atmosphere of hate and mob violence that the ruling class is trying to form within India. Upholding the spirit of harmony and unity, AISA conducted these events against the mob violence of ABVP, student wing of RSS, within universities. Continue reading
Mahadalit Girl Dika Kumari Harassed, Raped and Killed in Hajipur Bihar! Bihar Government Remains Unmoved!!
Put an End to Killing Dalit Dreams of Education and Dignity! Resist Cover-ups and State Shielding of This Casteist-Patriarchal Cohort!! Ensure High Level Probe into the Conditions of Dalit Hostels across Bihar!!
Demanding Justice for Dika,
Join Protest Demonstration at Bihar Bhawan
27th January (Friday) at 2pm
“I work in the fields with a trowel and a sickle. But I wanted my daughter to study. I’m uneducated and poor but that did not stop my daughter Dika and I from dreaming of a future with dignity. That dream has been snatched from us. All I want is justice. I demand justice so that no other mother should be robbed so cruelly of her daughter.”
– Kusmi Devi, Dika Kumari’s mother
On the early hours of 7 January, Dika Kumari was battered, brutally raped and killed, her dead body thrown in a drain near her hostel in the premises of the Ambedkar Residential Girls’ School in Hajipur (Vaishali). Dika, 16 years of age, daughter of Kusmi Devi, an agricultural labourer from Bihar’s most oppressed Mahadalit Musahar community, was studying in the Ambedkar School, one of the schools run by the Bihar Government for Dalits. For Dika and her mother, their hopes for a dignified future laid in Dika’s education. Today those dreams stand shattered as Kusmi Devi tries to courageously muster all her strength to rage for justice for her daughter.
What is further disturbing and horrifying is that this happened a day after Dika’s mother had unsuccessfully tried to bring her back home after Dika told her mother that her teachers were pushing her to do “bad things” with them in return for “good marks”. Her attempts to take her daughter back on hearing the complaint were met by the hostel officials pushing her out of the premises! The same authorities did not even deem it necessary to inform her the next morning that her daughter was no more! Kusmi and her family rushed to the hostel after getting the news, to find Dika’s body lying in a gutter. Dika was sexually assaulted and brutally killed.
The police has been refusing to acknowledge sexual violence. Till now no rape charges have been filed and no POCSO guidelines have been invoked despite the fact that Dika was a minor girl and her body carried marks of violent sexual assault. The entire incident makes clear the conditions inside such schools – conditions in which the students and their parents are not seen as deserving of dignity or rights. Dika was killed to cover up sexual harassment and the Bihar police authorities are hushing up the matter.
Dika’s murder exposes the claims of the so-called messiahs of social justice and women empowerment in Bihar. The fact that Dika’s tortuous death has taken place within hostel premises cries for an immediate probe in the functioning of these spaces and calls for bringing the guilty to the book. Far from realising the gravity of the situation reflected in all the girl students vacating the hostel, the government’s response has still been of criminal apathy and silence. They haven’t even prompted a thorough and impartial probe into the state of Ambedkar schools and hostels in Bihar. The Central Government Minister Ram Vilas Paswan himself, too is yet to speak on the murder.
A few months back a Dalit boy in Muzzafarpur was tortured and brutally thrashed by upper caste boys. The violence occurred on the premises of the Kendriya Vidyalaya The Muzzafarpur incident is proof that even when a Dalit student manages to get into the Kendriya Vidyalaya hostels, there is no safety or surety against caste violence. This conveys to the oppressed communities that educational spaces are not for them or that the dreams that education may have the potential to realise will come at the cost of dignity and life. Dalit students have for long been raising demands for basic human dignity in these schools, without any response from the Nitish-Lalu Government.
Massive protests are happening all across Bihar demanding justice for Dika under the banner of AISA and AIPWA. Kajal, a young girl from the same school along with her friends and Dika’s mother are at the forefront of a sustained struggle for justice. Today, we must come out and demand justice for Dika and also ask the Bihar Government as to why it choses to abet the killers by shielding them. Dika’s classmates and hostel mates have been speaking out against the horrible conditions and casteism rampant in the school.
Why is it that the Dalit boys and girls become easy targets of not just governmental apathy but also of caste violence as was also seen when Dalit boys in their hostels in Bhojpur were subjected to arson and vandalism by the Ranveer Sena following the death of Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh!
We strongly demand a thorough investigation into the conditions of residential schools for children coming from poor and oppressed backgrounds and especially girls. Not just in Bihar, Dikas and Deltas are killed, assaulted and discriminated against in Dalit hostels in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and all over.
AISA demands that CM of Bihar immediately order a high-level inquiry into the murder of Dika and also into the state of residential schools and hostels for Dalit students in the state. Additionally, strict action must be taken against not only those who tortured, sexually assaulted and murdered Dika, but also against those in positions of authorities who participated in or remained mute spectators to the everyday harassment of Dika and several other girls in the residential school.
A Significant Victory of Collective Student Movement!
ESI Medical Colleges to Continue!
AISA congratulates the student community for a major step forward in our movement to halt government withdrawal from education and health. Due to a collective movement by the ESIC medical students, teachers along with AISA, JNUSU and other progressive organisations, the ESIC and the central government have been forced to withdraw its earlier decision to close down 13 ESIC medical institution including medical colleges, dental colleges and nursing colleges.
In pursuance of the Modi govt.’s sinister policy of cut back of public spending on health, education and employment, the ESIC Board Meeting of 4 Jan. 2015, headed by the Union Labour Minister Bhandaru Dattaraya, decided to close down all 13 ESIC medical institutions. This caused major insecurity for the future of the students enrolled in the colleges as well as the teaching and and non-teaching stuff in these colleges. At the same time, this was also a major attack on public health system as it would have badly impacted the hospitals and medical services under ESI, which as an institution caters to the need of the unorganised working class of the country.
As soon as the decision to close down the ESIC medical colleges came to light, students and teachers of these colleges started massive protests against this decision. AISA has been a part of this movement since beginning in several parts of the country.
On 18th of February, when the next board meeting of ESIC was scheduled, a spirited protest was organised by the JNUSU along with the ESI medical students and teachers. AISA along with other progressive organisations were an integral part of this movement. Due to the united show of strength by the students and teachers as well as some strong progressive voices inside the board meeting, the decision to close down the medical colleges could not be finalised from 18th February board meeting. Finally, on 18th March, the head quarter of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation has come out with a circular stating that the earlier decision has been re-examined and directing new admission to be continued in all the colleges for 2015-16 session.
This is a major victory of the progressive students’ movement to safeguard public funded education and health system in the country. In the coming days as well, we must forge a larger unity and resistance against the government’s moves to sell out education and health to private interest.
Hundreds of ESIC Medical College Students took part in the Protest Demo on 18th February
Reject the Ideology and Politics of Communal / Racist Profiling and Witch-Hunt, Anywhere and Everywhere!
In a most shocking and horrific incident, a rape accused was dragged out of a prison, stripped naked, dragged on the streets, beaten, pelted with stones and lynched to death. This horrific incident needs to be strongly condemned in no uncertain terms. This sort of ‘mob justice’, delivered with scant regard for evidence and due process, flies in the face of the very idea of justice and democracy. Such bloodthirsty vengeance and blatant denial of basic, fundamental human rights cannot be a substitute for ‘justice’ under any circumstance.
It needs to be understood very clearly that this sort of vigilante action and mob ‘justice’ is not what the women’s movement has been fighting for. Gender justice is inexorably linked with justice, rights, liberties for all and resolutely fights discrimination of all sorts. It must be ensured that a person who is accused of sexual violence is guaranteed due process and a free and fair investigation. Mob lynching of suspected rapists and molesters who are perceived and projected as ‘outsiders’ and ‘others’ only weakens the struggle against sexual violence.
Such vigilante action is unfortunately not an aberration, and most often feeds on racial, communal and patriarchal prejudices that are prevalent in society. Right here in Delhi, we have had several incidents when the person perceived as the ‘other’, and accused of some wrongdoing, has been sentenced by the ‘community’ and subjected to vigilante action. In the Khirki village incident for instance, a mob, led by no less than Delhi’s Law Minister, broke several laws and raided several houses based on the racist assumption that all ‘blacks’ are drug peddlers and prostitutes. Similarly, in the Dimapur incident, such frenzy could possibly be whipped up against just one of the several rape accused in the state because he happened to be a Bengali speaking Muslim.
A communal campaign to label all Bengali speaking Muslims as ‘illegal Bangladeshi immigrants’ (IBIs) has been growing not just in Nagaland, but across the North East. The Dimapur incident only underlines the huge dangers of this malicious campaign. This incident in fact, is a horrific revelation of the pitfalls of certain groups trying to pitch one oppressed community against the other. The person who was brutally lynched was branded as a rapist and an illegal immigrant – when the fact is that he was a Assamese Muslim from Karimganj, with several family members even working in the Indian armed forces. This horrific incident only showcases the danger of communal and racist campaigns to stereotype certain communities.
AISA strongly condemns the Dimapur lynching, and appeals to the student community to robustly reject all possible attempts to whip up communal or racist frenzy again anyone who is perceived as the ‘other’. We, should collectively resisted and will continue to steadfastly resist, any racist assault or racist stereotyping of people from the north-east. Similarly, we will stand against any communal campaign to stigmatise people based on religion and language. The battle for gender justice, democracy and justice cannot jettison the very principles it is based on.
We express deep concern over the recent developments in Swami Vivekanand Subharti University. On 2 Mar, 2014 students of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, Meerut were watching a cricket Match between India and Pakistan in the community hall of the hostel. Kashmiri students were beaten up then they allegedly “celebrated” the victory of Pakistan cricket team. Following this, 67 Kashmiri students were suspended for 3 days from the University and were even forced to evacuate their hostels for three days with their luggage. And now “Sedition” charges have been slapped on the students! The University authorities said that the Kashmiri students had committed an “anti-national act” by cheering for Pakistan cricket team. How is cheering for any cricket team become “national” or “anti-national,” by which law and Constitution? Even if that were the case, how exactly would that apply to, say, the Indian Premier League matches where sportspersons of various nationalities play in a single team? Again, how would it apply to English Premier League football matches in which Indians enthusiastically cheer for various English clubs, knowing full well the atrocities that England had committed on Indians as an occupier? How is it then completely acceptable to cheer for English artists and foreign tennis players, even against an Indian tennis player?
Indeed, Meerut incident is a shocking display of jingoism which seeks to turn even sports and culture into a space of communal warmongering. The deliberate and repeated attempts to turn cricket into a ground for testing the loyalty of people reeks of a communal mindset that serves no purpose, except to weaken the very democratic fabric of this country. These communalists have no contribution in the freedom struggle of India nor do they raise their voice when foreign corporations are given a free hand to exploit the country’s resources. Their claims of nationalism are as hollow as their permanent allegations of “disloyalty” against any minority of this country. How is it that they never speak out against communal violence perpetrated on the minorities of this country? These are the very forces which keep on insisting that “Kashmir is an integral part of India” without even once speaking up against the atrocities being committed on Kashmiris inside and outside Kashmir.
Further, the administrative high-handedness in this issue is unacceptable but not unprecedented.No action has been taken against the non-Kashmiri students involved in the incident. Not even a mere fine as imposed on them for engaging in physical violence. The rationale for suspending the Kashmir students en masse is interesting- the university claims that these students were sent home in order to prevent any communal breakout in Meerut, as it is a “volatile” constituency. But this logic falls flat when we see that draconian “Sedition” charges have been slapped on the Kashmiri students! Instead of protecting and upholding their democratic rights, the police and administration confess their helplessness vis-a-vis the communal fascists. It is sad that the university authorities as well as the police have internalised the communal agenda and are dancing to the tune of the communal fascists in anticipation.
1)What was the need to evict them from the hostels, besides suspending them, if not to impose collective punishment upon them?
2) Why was no action taken against the non-Kashmiri students for indulging in physical violence when Kashmiri students were punished for merely shouting slogans, first by the violent lumpens and then by the administration?
3) What is the guarantee that, after the students are back from Kashmir after “3 days”, they won’t be targeted again? “3 days” is no magic number which will resolve the communal tensions being fuelled by the communal fascist elements on a daily basis.
4) And by what logic archaic colonial “Sedition” charges have been slapped on the Kashmiri students? Any difference in perception and ideas, that too in a university space, has to addressed through dialogue and not brute use of muscle power and administrative high-handedness. Students and people cannot be silenced and brutalised to submission through majoritarian violence and state machinery.
We appeal to the student community to join a Protest Demonstration at UP Bhawan on 7 March, 3.00pm against this gross violence and state-sponsored victimisation against the Kashmiri students in Meerut.
Condemn the Jingoist Violence and State Sponsored Administrative Victimisation against the Kashmiri Students in a University in Meerut!
We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the lenient attitude of Kashmir police and the Jammu Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee on the extremely serious case of sexual harassment against former health minister and Congress MLA, Shabir Khan. The Congress party has asked Shabir Khan to resign but he continues to be an MLA, attends assembly sessions and has been granted bail, thus putting the entire investigation in jeopardy. In a recent development, the SHO who was investigating the case has been transferred.
Shabir Khan, was accused of molesting a female doctor and was booked under Sections 354 and 509 of the Ranbir Penal Code. Following outrage over the incident, he was forced to resign as minister on the 7th of Feb but he continues to be a Congress MLA. After warrants were issued against him, he went absconding and applied for bail. In his bail application, he reportedly made a case for himself on the basis of his “nationalist credentials”. After being granted bail, he attended the assembly session while all the mainstream parties maintained silence over his presence in the house.
The Minister called the complainant to his office repeatedly on the pretext of discussing funding for the health centre where she works. After she refused to turn up, she was forced to report to him! His office was full of people but he made her wait in a small cabin. She initially refused to go there but he convinced her to sit in the cabin. Inside the cabin, Khan, who had called her to discuss funding, started talking about a lot of irrelevant topics and then offered her several favors including a plum posting on the condition that she serves him Kehwa in the circuit house- a statement clearly loaded with suggestive phrases. When she tried to leave the room, “the minister made physical advances amounting to molestation”.
It is shocking to see the complacency of the National Conference and Congress coalition government in Jammu & Kashmir on the issue, the reluctance to sack the accused coupled with the decision to transfer the investigating officer in the case. We are strongly concerned about the fairness of any trial that will be conducted in such a situation.We demand that the Congress party should expel Shabir Khan at the earliest and that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should personally ensure a fair trial. It may be recalled that, in the aftermath of the 16th December Delhi gang rape case, Mr. Abdullah had affirmed his commitment to gender justice and he had promised that there would be no leniency in cases of sexual violence, acid attack, etc. It is time to live up to those promises.
The culture of impunity prevailing in Kashmir, with or without the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, is a matter of grave concern for progressive forces. The invocation of nationalist credentials in the bail application strikes us as problematic. Human rights abuse, sexual harassment and rape all go unpunished in the absence of any accountability. On the 23rd of Feb,2014 civil rights groups in Kashmir are observing the Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day in commemoration of the extremely shameful Kunan Poshpora mass rape that took place on 23rd Feb, 1991. Not a single army man has been punished in the case. While extending support to the observance of this day, we condemn the continued occupation of Kashmir through weapons of rape, torture and fake encounter and denial of the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir.
Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, AIPWA
Akbar Chawdhary, President, JNUSU
Sucheta De, National President, AISA
Shehla Rashid, AISA
Aslam Khan, National Vice President, RYA
Vrinda Grover – Advocate – New Delhi
Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Executive Editor Kashmir Times
Basharat Peer, Journalist
Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM
Amitabh Kumar, Head of Media and Communications, Centre for Social Research
Bishakha Datta, Executive Director, Point of View
Lata Pratibha Madhukar, Research Scholar at TISS and CSD, Hyderabad
Akhil Kumar, Sub-Editor, Youth Ki Awaaz
Ravi Nitesh, Core Member- Save Sharmila Solidairty Campaign
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and human rights activits, Mumbai
Chinmayee Subash, Free lance development professional.
Mithilesh Pande, Mission Bhartiyam
Chhaya Datar, Ex-Professor at TISS Mumbai
Sabha Husain, Researcher/Women’s Rights Activist
Rohit Kumar Social Activist (FB)
Shahid Ayoub from P G college Rajouri (FB)
Ms. Virginia Saldanha, Woman Activist
Devika Mittal, Mission Bhartiyam
Saheli and Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
Juhi Jain, Feminist activist and writer, New Delhi
Dr Fayaz Ganaie, Senior Manager (Cargill group)
Dr. Showkat Bashir, Kashmir
Jitender Singh, Post Doctoral fellow, JNU SLS
Rajesh Umadevi, Activist
Roopashri Sinha, Mumbai
Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
The shocking news of brutal rape of a minor 14 year old North-East girl in Munirka on Friday night (7th February,2014) has once again shaken all of us. The moment this gruesome news came out, the AISA led JNUSU gave the call for an immediate protest. At JNUSU’s call hundreds of students from the campus poured out in protest at the Vasant Vihar police Station. Students and activists from North-East also joined in large number in this spontaneous protest. It was only after hours of protest by around 500 students and citizens at the Police Station, did the Police finally file the FIR where, we have been told that the culprit has been booked under Sections 376(2i), 342, 324,363,366,509 of IPC. JNUSU along with numerous people from the city held a Candle light March from VV Police Station to the neighbouring area. Today JNUSU joined in solidarity with the students from the North-East, who organised a silent Sit-In at Patiala House to demand that the process of justice in the case is not subverted through crafty cover-up by any nexus of the investigation agencies and local power groups.
Just last week, Delhi saw the brutal broad daylight murder of 19-year-old Nido Tania, from Arunachal Pradesh, in Lajpat Nagar market. A massive and sustained protest broke out in the city. But shockingly, even as the city-wide protest against this racist lynch-mob murder of Nido was at its peak, two Manipuri women were beaten up near Kotla. And now, we are witnessing this horrific barbarism against a minor North-East girl in the heart of South Delhi.
As the popular protest snowballed against in Nido’s murder, various ruling parties did make the mandatory ‘condemnation’ noises. But it is indeed revealing that while they continue to indulge in competitive blame game to reap political harvests, none of them have chosen to recognise the deep-seated racial and anti-women prejudices that dominate not just the social psyche but more dangerously the security agencies, police, State policy and politics, which they directly command and define. They refused to be accountable for the highly condemnable police inaction, ‘inefficiency’ and orchestrated ‘cover-up’ that local police routinely display in dealing with such cases of racist and sexual violence. So we have to be extra vigilant that the vested power groups do NOT manage to subvert justice. We have to take to the streets with renewed vigour against this growing trend of racist and sexual violence in the city. We must resolve to stop this shame NOW!
The bitterly cold winter has begun. And the stories of Muzaffarnagar’s relief camps jolts our conscience.
Thousands of people, who have watched their loved ones killed in cold blood, and who have been raped, and lost their homes and means of survival, languish in the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar. The Uttar Pradesh Government had pleaded earlier that they were helpless to prevent the communal violence. But why has the Government turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of those in the relief camps?
• 28 children have died in relief camps in Shahpur, Budhana, Malarpuur and Sunhati due to the cold, and lack of medicines.
• There have been instances of rapes in the relief camps. FIRs have been filed in rape cases that took place during the communal violence – but the accused are yet to be arrested.
• Meanwhile, the BJP shamelessly felicitated its MLAs who are accused of leading the communal violence.
• And the Akhilesh Government issued an order forcibly evicting the riot-hit from the relief camps, and pressurising them to accept a Rs 5 lakh payment in exchange for giving up their right to return to the villages from where they were evicted! In exchange for the Rs 5 lakh, they are being asked to sign an affidavit saying “”Main aur mere parivar ke sadasya apne gram mein hui hinsatmak ghatnaon se bhayakant hokar gaon va ghar chhodkar aaye hain, tatha in kinhi bhi paristhitiyon mein ab apne mool gaon evam ghar nahin lautenge (I and my family left our village and our home due to the violent incidents there. We will not return to our village and home under any circumstances).”
• Also, the UP forest department has booked thousands of Muzaffarnagar riots victims for setting up relief camps by “encroaching” on forest land.
• The report submitted to the UP Government by the 10-member committee of Ministers under the leadership of senior SP Minister Shivpal Yadav, appallingly, blames the madarsas running of the relief camp for not wanting to wind up the relief camps in spite of the situation having returned to ‘normal’!
• The SIT constituted to enquire into the riots is doing a mere token job of it and not bothering even to talk to the victims.
We cannot watch this travesty of justice in silence. AISA appeals to people all over the country to contribute funds that can be used to buy relief materials (warm clothing, firewood, medicines, food) that are urgently for the Muzaffarnagar riot-affected. A team of AISA and CPI(ML) leaders will visit Muzaffarnagar on 28 December to distribute the first batch of relief materials collected.
AISA also appeals to begin the New Year with a resolve to secure justice for Muzaffarnagar’s riot victims.
On 2nd January 2014, AISA and CPI(ML) has called for an all-India protest day demanding immediate arrest and prosecution of all rioters and rape-accused named in FIRs, and demanding that the State Government of UP ensure urgent relief and rehabilitation measures for the riot-displaced and riot-affected people photo: courtesy Indian Express
The 47 year old Madurai University faces for the first time indefinite closure from 10th December. The struggle started on 4th, continued for 8 days, till the police evacuated students, demanding revoking of dismissal of AISA leaders comrades Arun and Pandiyarajan and redressal of demands raised by AISA.
It all started in January, 2013, just 11 months ago when AISA Madurai, decided to intervene in the happenings of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU). The universities in Tamilnadu have become fiefdom of the ruling party of the State and are being looted. The education system is collapsing due to semi-privatization, corruption and suppression of dissent.
The present Vice- Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) is a family member of an AIADMK leader (late). She started to fill all the legal bodies (Senate, Syndicate) with her loyalists and the Registrar was frequently changed to suit her needs. The new VC created self financed courses of her liking without any infrastructure and funding from UGC or any relevant agency and closed a girls’ hostel to create space for a theatre. She took little interest in providing atmosphere for teaching-learning, for example fellowship to the research scholars has not been paid for the last 10 to 12 months. She had taken no effort to spend Rs 2 Crore, which the University has to spend this academic year out of 10 Crore transferred by the UGC towards scholarship for M.Phil and PhD students. However the VC is now listing out that she had added Wi-Fi, solar energy and so on, for reasons well known. However, no Wi-Fi or washing machine or refrigerator or inverter is found in hostels (as per UPE standard) as mentioned in the Self Assessment Report by the university for NAAC.
AISA tried to resist VC’s move to disintegrate the integrated education institute. It organized several protests in various forms this academic year. On the Convocation Day (23rd October) Comrades Arun and Pandiyarajan tried to meet the Vice Chairman of UGC demanding early release of fellowship. However the MKU administration used police to prevent the leaders and students from meeting him. The students turned towards the collector office, which is 15 KM away and presented the petition to him. It was widely covered in the local media.
The MKU management has tried to browbeat the movement and the students, however, we have resisted them at every step. After trying several ways for silencing and threatening the AISA leaders, on 3rd December the Syndicate decided to rusticate Arun and Pandiyarajan. The Syndicate decision to suspend a worker who is also SC/ST Union leader, who fought for reservations in employment, demotion of a reputed professor to non-academic post and sending out PDF scholar who is differently abled single woman and also an associate of the demoted professor infuriated the entire campus.
AISA’s organization is relatively new. However, it knew its strength is its drive for better academic atmosphere and aspiration of the academic community for democratic environment. We decided to go for what was required and started our protest on 4th December in which more than 100 students participated. Madurai Kamaraj University Faculty Association (MUFA), as it got another blow from the VC, joined the protest. In a matter of 2 or 3 days hundreds of students, defying authoritarian grip of VC through the Chair Persons, HoDs and others joined the struggle.
AISA joined hands with SFI and also initiated an idea of creating ‘Save MKU Coalition’. On 12th December students and professors were arrested. All the students sat in front of VC’s office demanding revoking of undemocratic decision of the Syndicate. The management invited the students and MUFA for discussion. The so-called peace committee constituted by the VC demanded unconditional apology from our leaders, our comrades staged walk out.
However no solution was possible as the peace committee was just a stooge of the VC and the academic community staged bigger mobilization with vigor. The management announced closure of all schools, departments and hostels of the university at dusk, throwing all the students including girls on the street. Unprecedented struggle in the history of MKU happened as girls and boys marched the roads of university and gheraoed the VC’s office at midnight. AISA and SFI leaders declared indefinite fast which emboldened the students. However, the intervention of RDO made it possible to open the hostels late at midnight.
The next day morning the management forced the students out by cutting electricity and water. In the early morning students walked to the main gate with their luggage and started to protest. The fast continued. As the hostels were closed, students organized community kitchen.
The RDO intervened again and the management came down to revoke the dismissal of scholars unconditionally. However, the students were not ready to conclude struggle without winning their demands. The struggle continued and the police damaged the community kitchen and warned the students to disperse. However, the students decided to court arrest. 400 students including 92 girls and 12 professors were evacuated to halls. Protest continued there too, demanding food and access to hostels and to provide accommodation to girls who cannot reach home safe. Later all of them were released and the MKU was compelled to open hostels to girls till morning.
The struggle has created new hope among academic community. MUTA (Association of teachers of 4 southern universities and affiliated colleges), UCC (Coordination committee of teachers associations) and TANFUFA (Tamilnadu Federation of University Faculty Associations) joined in the struggle and conducted agitations. The MKU students struggle gathered support from other universities of the State too.
AISA took initiative again and sat with SFI and formed AISA-SFI Coordination to sustain the struggle and the coordination has decided to organize signature campaign in affiliated colleges and bigger joint struggles and mobilisations.
To protest against the detention of the estranged wife of a Naval officer who had alleged wife-swapping in the Indian Navy, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University protested outside the Vasant Vihar police station here on Saturday demanding her immediate release.
Speaking to The Hindu , All-India Students’ Association president Akbar Chaudhary said the woman was arrested at Jia Sarai on Saturday afternoon and was “beaten up”. He alleged that “she had swollen hands and legs”.
“As the estranged wife of the Naval officer exposed the Indian Navy sex scandal, the Defence Ministry is pressuring the police. As a result, trumped up charges of forgery have been registered against the victim who enrolled as student at JNU this year. We are protesting because after the December 16 gang rape of the physiotherapy student, women are no longer safe in the city.”
According to AISA national joint secretary Sucheta De, the estranged wife of the Naval officer was “tortured during her detention”.
“We met her briefly and her hands and legs were swollen. This proves that she has been tortured. It takes a lot for a woman to come out boldly against the commodification of women in an unquestionable institution. The State needs to stand up for her so that she has confidence in the State machinery. But the entire political machinery is up in arms against her for the pride of Indian Navy. Pride lies in commodification of Indian women or speaking up against it?”
Noting that the protest was against the detention of a woman who was being victimised for exposing wife swapping in the Indian Navy, vice president of JNU unit of AISA Om Prasad said: “What she has exposed is that Navy officers are forcing women to sleep with senior officers. She has been harassed for exposing this scandal.” AISA member Shibani Nag said the estranged wife of the Naval officer was detained because she had exposed that senior officers were asking for sexual favours from her. “Ever since she exposed this scandal, she has been threatened by these officers of Indian Navy. I met her today; she was limping. Only after that did she complain that she had been beaten up. The police is trying to shield the Naval officers.”