One event changed the course

One event changed the course

JNU students today provide undiluted opposition to Modi’s government,” Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora told Deccan Herald, weeks after the union’s president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on charges of sedition.  Shora and her union colleagues are visiting universities across the country to mobilise support for a campaign demanding “Justice for Rohith Vemula”.

 “The JNU controversy will prove to be the deathbed of the RSS. We are going and meeting people everywhere. They can see through the hollowness of Modi’s rhetoric. BJP is zero on development and 100% on communalism. Rohith Vemula’s death is the beginning of the end of this autocratic, arrogant regime,” she said, while rushing to the airport. S Balaji of the All India Students’ Association said the student union is hosting an event to commemorate slain comrade Chandrashekhar Prashad. The former JNUSU member was shot dead in a political rally in Bihar in March 1997.

Balaji accused the Centre of trying to “instill fear and suppress dissent” and said Rohith’s suicide has “ignited” nationwide resentment against the Narendra Modi dispensation.

 He said, shifting of media glare from the JNU controversy doesn’t mean that the likes of Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid Shora have been pushed into political oblivion. “Most of India’s population is in the 24-30 years bracket, so these students will benefit from the demographics. They will have to voice what more than 50% of people want to say in the country, and they will have to continue pursuing their interests,” he said.

 But Alok Singh of JNU’s Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) unit said joining big party politics is a deeply personal decision. “I’m a microbiology student. I work in the laboratory for 16 hours a day, sometimes. I didn’t come to JNU for doing politics. But what happens with me in future will depend on circumstances,” he said.  For Singh, a lot has changed since the outrage broke out against the February 9 event to protest against Afzal Guru’s hanging and in solidarity with “the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination”.

 “The discourse in JNU has changed from naxalism and self-determination for Kashmir to nationalism and respect for the army,” he said.  Following the controversial February 9 event, the ABVP had invited some ex-servicemen on the JNU campus to lecture students on their idea of nationalism. In turn, Left-dominated JNU student and teacher associations relied on intellectuals from various walks of civil life to counter the ABVP ploy to project Left parties as supporters of Afzal Guru-like event.

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