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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 10 New Delhi February 27, 2016

Face of State Tyranny

Sunday 28 February 2016, by Humra Quraishi


State tyranny has reached campuses. This government is using every single ploy to crush any voice of dissent, to spread around an air of confusion, and to unleash terror. What happened at the JNU campus has layers to it. Foremost, it shows this government’s desperate attempt to shift focus from Rohith Vemula’s death at the Hyderabad University. It was a known fact that on February 23 hundreds of students from the different universities of the country would be reaching New Delhi to focus on the basic fact that Rohith was pushed into killing himself because of the dictates of two key Ministers in the Modi Cabinet... And the government thought it could shift focus with all possible twists well fitted into the JNU episode. It’s a different matter altogether that students across the country can see through the ploys at work and are getting united by the day ...raising their voice against the tyranny of the very system hounding them.

Another emerging trend. A bunch of muscle- men—a private sena of sorts—seems to have been hired/trained/lured by this Right-wing govern-ment to beat and scare. This was writ large last fortnight when students who were protesting about Rohith Vermula’s death outside the RSS headquarters were brutally assaulted by not just cops but also ‘unidentified men’. The same was writ large this week when students and scribes were beaten and threatened out there in the open, just outside the court ... This time BJP MLA O.P. Sharma and another BJP man Vikram Chauhan were caught on camera, beating and threatening unarmed students. And it’s said that it’s these musclemen who had managed to sneak into the JNU campus that fateful night and were part of the bigger ploy to raise slogans and cause the expected aftermath.

Expectedly O.P. Sharma and Vikram Chauhan were not arrested. Why? Quite obviously their Right-wing connections provide the necessary cushioning... If they were apolitical citizens or creatures from any other political outfit they would be sitting in a lock-up with all possible charges on their head.

Then, the basic query which each one of us has to ask, is entitled to ask—where is that democracy which promises that each one of us can think and talk and express and question and query and raise our voice as freely as possible? Alas! that basic sense of freedom crumbling ...going ....gone! Only there for the rulers of the day but not for us ...we the masses cannot even raise our voice at the tyranny going on! What is happening is nothing short of what was expected to happen if pracharacks and mahapracharacks govern!

Correct me if I’m wrong, soon a day could come when each one of us could have to carry an ID card with this one liner—‘I’m a Muslim/Dalit/Christian/Tribal/Leftist/Marxist/Trade Unionist... but no terrorist!’

Tyranny is on ...going on. When young students are getting pulled and pushed around to such an extent that the likes of Rohith Vemula couldn’t cope with the daily dose of humiliation and killed himself. And now with this crackdown on the JNU campus and arrest of its students, including the President of the Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, there is not just spotlight on the crumbling system but also on the ruthlessness with which voices of dissent are getting crushed.

There could be a hundred definitions of terrorism and terrorists. Why should I go only by your definition? For me, the masterminds behind the Babri Masjid demolition and also those behind the Gujarat pogrom 2002 are the biggest terrorists ... for they destroyed the very togetherness of this country, they sowed seeds of hatred and divisions. amongst the masses.

Today, all sort of distractions are getting fitted in by this government to bring about an air of confusion. Desperation to such an extent that even the utterances of that double or triple agent, David Headley, are being taken as truth! Can we stoop to such a level to put terror-striking agent David Headley and his utterances up there! Shame ...shame!

Don’t ruin Educational Institutions... Jnu being one of the best in this Subcontinent

Each time I am inside the campus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, I wonder why people have moved outside it! After all, it comes across as a well-structured university township, with an air of connectivity to it. Unlike a typical university campus, there is less of chaos and more of the sprawling spread... complete with lush greenery and tall trees and well-defined roads which lead to a destination of sorts.... To an ‘outsider’ or a casual visitor to the JNU campus, it seems an extension of a dreamy academic getaway, set in an isle of calm. Yes, the calm does get broken by stray dogs holding forth at every turn or crossing, intimidating people with ferocious barks and at times attacking them. However, most—insiders and outsiders—seem to overlook this drawback, highlighting the other aspects... There is no denying that there is something to this university that makes it stand out. It is well known not just in the country but also in the subcontinent and beyond.

In fact, when I had read Dr Rakesh Batabyal’s book, JNU: The Making of a University (Harper Collins), I got a whole new insight into the inception of this institution, together with the lesser known aspects—from details of its first Vice Chancellor, the political ideologies to campus life....