Politics

The Recent Episodes Of Violence At Ramjas College Have Only One Thing To Say, ‘Fascism Is Here’.

A two-day seminar on Cultures of Protest was organised by Wordcraft, the Ramjas literary society and the English department of Ramjas College, which was aborted as soon as it began, when members of the ABVP protested against Umar Khalid speaking at the conference. Khalid is a PhD scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a student activist who was slapped with sedition charges last year. Umar Khalid was invited to speak on the theme ‘The war in Adivasi areas’. Here is a first-hand narration of the second day of the violence.

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Ramjas College entrance was blocked by ABVP students; the common students of Ramjas, AISA, SFI, Pinjra tod and other sympathisers were standing opposite to the gate at a side of the footpath holding placards in their hands and shouting slogans, “go back – go back, ABVP – go back”. It was all going good till now, the protestors decided to advance towards the gate roaring the slogans at the peak of their voice. Police gathered around to stop them, ABVP became hyperactive. A Police bus was made to move in order to push the protestors back. The protestors stood there, adamant not to retreat. It was only when some ABVP members started instigating from the other sides by hitting some of the protestors at the back of their head, the violence crept into thescene. Then a unit of ABVP members went at the back of the protesters’ lot and started provoking them from behind. This interrupted the unity of protestors; half of them engaged themselves in reciprocating ABVP guys while others were busy dealing with Delhi Police.
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This continued for long, ABVP trying to provoke violencefrom one side and Delhi Police continuing to obstruct the protestors from the other. The nexus between ABVP and Delhi Police became obvious. The protestors understood what was happening there. In the name of maintaining law and order, police stood as a mute spectator allowing ABVP all the freedom to carry out violence. Then a shrill cry of “Delhi Police – sharm karo,” pierced in amidst the commotion somewhere from the protestors’ lot, and then everybody followed, “sharm karo – sharm karo.” Counter slogans of “Desh ke gaddaron ko, joote maaro saalon ko” were hurled at the protesters, accompanied by chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Matram.” This exhibition of strength went on until the protestors decided to start their march.

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As the protestors began marching towardsMaurice Nagar Police station, a stone came flying in and hit the back of the head of one of the protestors. And when I say stone, I mean big stones, not pebbles. Streams of blood dripped down his head, his handkerchief got stained with red. How fear struck he seemed, eyes red with anguish. The atmosphere turned more dreadful, as more stones were pelted, protestors were seen dodging and shielding their heads with bags. Nevertheless, protestors continued their march; stones were not enough to break their unity. ABVP too marched with them side by side to ensure the march gets disordered and it does not reach its destination. Police formed a human chain to separate the two student bodies, even then some ABVP members were able to barge in and attempt to thrash the protestors. This continued as we turned left to reach the police station, one person shot a bottle of banta soda at a tree adjacent to the road, the pieces of glass fell down with full intensity, fortunately without harming anyone.

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The destination arrived finally, but before the protestors could reach the gates, ABVP members were able to capture the space and block it. Again a show of strength began with students sloganeering against each other. The demand of protesters was simple, to file a First Information Report against the perpetrators of violence. Protestors sat there on the road rigid with their demand. Time flew fast and it was about 06:00 pm, when Police started lathi charging at them mercilessly, creating the atmosphere more grim and ugly. The maintainers of law and order thrashed and dragged each and every protestor into buses, with ABVP members being the exception. Even female protestors were manhandled brutally. The horror-stricken students tried resisting but were overpowered by tall and strong police personnel armed with lathis. The curfew like situation came to an end, with busses filled with injured students being deported away from the location.

The recent episodes of violence at Ramjas College have only one thing to say, ‘fascism is here’.

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Politics

Can BJP Be Trusted To Deliver What It Promises By Launching Anti-Romeo Squads? I Doubt.

I attended an event called “Love Without Fear” organised by AISA – All India Students’ Association outside the premises of Arts Faculty, Delhi University on the 13th of February. Posters shouting azadi and slogans of solidarity scribbled on placards were hanging all around, with a layer of barricades and police surrounding the venue. I with my other comrades were standing at the entrance, and amidst the voices of songs and slogans going at the background, a professor seeming lady, probably in her late fifties, emerged unexpectedly to enquire about the event. One question she asked was quite interesting. Since when ‘love’ has become political? To which none amongst us could reply properly. 

I was thinking about it today, and realised eventually, that politics on hatred is quite mainstream, so politics on love could prove to be a counter force against it. Since there are several political outfits who rely on spreading hatred to gain some mileage, there should and must be voices of love which soughts to dominate the narratives of hatred. In the ongoing polls in Uttar Pradesh, BJP national president Amit Shah promised to establish Anti-Romeo squads to prevent young women from harassment, if the party is voted to power. Well, this didn’t translate down fairly when a National Co-Convener of BJP Sunil Bharala interpreted it as protection of young hindu girls from harassment. “Love jihad targets innocent girls and lure them. The Muzaffarnagar riots took place because of this love jihad,” says Mr. Bharala.

Politicians like him are habitual perpetrators of hatred, let’s not talk about them. But wait, does BJP even understand who Romeo is? As far as I have read, Romeo is one of the finest literary characters from one of the Shakespeare’s famous play, whose love life didn’t end well with Juliet. He is a tragic lover, and associating him with the rowdy corner boys would be doing injustice with his character. Romeo is a symbol of love, and BJP promising to create an Anti-Romeo squad speaks well of the party’s stance on love.

Enough of word twisting, now talking about the BJP’s manifesto for Uttar Pradesh, the party whose manifesto once again raked up the issue of Ram Temple, promised to end the custom of triple talaq, and talks about the issue of ‘exodus’ in Kairana, can it be trusted to deliver what it promises by launching Anti-Romeo squads? I doubt.