March 29, 2012
"Such acts cannot cow down a just and genuine struggle.." -Geelani addressing the protesting students in Kashmir over phone from New Delhi.
On Monday, 26th March 2012, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and an unwavering voice of the aspirations for self-determination of Kashmir was assaulted by the state-sponsored notorious fascist outfits Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (BSKS) & ABVP. Around 15-20 goons from BSKS led by right wing mascot Tejender Singh Bagga attacked this 84 year old senior leader and most popular voice for Azadi when he came to address a gathering organized by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi. He was surrounded, physically manhandled and abused. Tejender Singh Bagga even attempted to hurl a shoe at him. His karakuli (or the traditional Kashmiri cap) was thrown away.
This appalling and atrocious act has been condemned by pro-Azaadi democratic and progressive forces across the world. In Kashmir large gatherings have vehemently protested such indignation and insult hurled upon their beloved leader. Despite the virtual ban on any protest gatherings tentamount to imposition of section 144, the students of Kashmir University braving security threats came out in large numbers in a rally and sit -in in support of Geelani condemning the heinous act. "This is a heinous and condemnable act. We are up against an intolerant India…We students are behind him and no one should dare to insult him. It was a coward and shameful act." said a student on the condition of anonymity, fearing police action.
Outfits like the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena are not “non-state actors” as some people would like to put it. These trusted mercenary goons operate under the express directions of the ruling classes in the state. While in Kashmir it is the more than 6 lakh Indian army that attempts to crush the indomitable aspirations for freedom, here in Delhi it is outfits like BSKS that try to suppress the same. They are thereby deployed with complete impunity to disrupt, delegitimize, intimidate and assault in every such democratic gathering that dares to challenge the fascist designs of the state. These are the same forces that attempted to vandalize the Azadi Conference in Delhi in April 2010 that was labeled as “seditious” by the state. Whether meetings addressed by Arundhati Roy, Prashant Bhushan or Geelani, these paid goons try to muffle all voices that stand in solidarity with the people fighting for self-determination or for their jal-jangal-zameen braving the state for a revolutionary transformation of society. But as Geelani articulated, “Such acts cannot cow down a just and genuine struggle.”
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 1:33 AM
March 26, 2012
Expose the role of US and its lackey India in hypocritically passing a UN Resolution against Sri Lanka! Support the Eelam Tamils in their fight for justice, freedom and independence!
The debate over the US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka came to an end on 22 March as the resolution was passed in the 47 member UNHRC, with 24 voting for the resolution, including India, 15 countries opposing it and 8 abstaining. This resolution placed by US, Norway and France was portrayed as a severe indictment by the ‘international community’ on the Sri Lankan state against war crimes that it committed during the Eelam war – IV. However, in reality it was a nothing but a bargaining chip to secure their geo-political interests. While the imperialists acted as ‘conscience keepers’ of the world and the fascist Sri Lankan state played the role of ‘innocent victim of war being pressurized’, the Indian state – US’s lackey and Sri Lanka’s best friend – played its dual role of tailing behind the US and mollifying Sri Lanka in this drama.
During Eelam War IV, Sri Lankan state controlled the media and arrested or executed anyone who dared to report the reality of the genocidal war in Eelam to the world in 2009. But when the UN was formally asked to evacuate its office in the north before the war, it knew very well what was unfolding. When the Red-Cross hospital was bombed and the UN bunkers were shelled with heavy weaponry, the UN and the so-called international community knew exactly what Sri Lankan state intended to do in the name of counter terrorism. When the US Navy ship reached northern Sri Lanka on May 17, 2009 to hand over the LTTE leadership to the Sri Lankan state it knew about the massacre of the Tamils of Eelam. But despite knowing all this there was a premeditated silence till May 17, 2009 by the imperialists – the day Prabakaran was martyred. Except for the protests of the people across the world to stop the genocide, there was a calculated and criminal silence from US, UK, European Union, UN and Indian government. This silence was a tacit approval of Sri Lankan state’s war, and all facilities were provided by these same forces which have now hypocritically moved the UN resolution. This was a war that Sri Lanka fought on behalf of the imperialists against the national liberation movement. The defeat of LTTE was not only important for Sri Lankan state but for imperialism.
Just as the silence during the war was premeditated, so are the discovery of evidences and the hullabaloo of indicting Rajapakshe of war crimes. It is a fact that China has consolidated its relations with Sri Lanka by providing arms during the war and benefitting greatly in ‘reconstruction’ after the war. India too has major investments in Sri Lanka in the last two years. US on the other is trying its best to make inroads in Sri Lanka and displace China. Hence today whatever is being done by US and its allies in the name of the Tamils of the north and east is in reality a fight for the spoils of the war. The resolution in the UNHRC is a part of this very fight and it is precisely because of that this resolution congratulates the Sri Lankan state for forming the LLRC and appreciates its findings and requests to implement the same, while carefully avoiding any statement on war crimes or persecuting those responsible. The Channel 4 documentary, which has brought out damning evidences of war crimes by the Sri Lankan army and the ruling classes, have carefully avoided talking about the role US, UK, Israel and India played in helping Sri Lanka crush LTTE and the Tamils in the war.
It would be foolish, to say the least, to believe that US has any interest in the welfare of the Eelam Tamils. Those who died in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Guantenamo, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan will testify for what is the meaning of ‘human rights’ in the dictionary of Imperialists. What happened in Geneva was a cruel and nasty joke on the Tamils of Eelam, and it was rightly understood by the Eelam Tamils who have rejected both the Sri Lankan state and the farcical resolution of US and have demanded immediate withdrawal of the armed forces from the north and east and the recognition of their right to self determination and the punishment of those responsible for war crimes. It is in their hands that lie the future of Eelam, and it is they who will ensure punishment of the criminals and mass murderers such as Rajapakse and his coterie.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 10:40 PM
Oppose fascist Indian state’s brutal occupation of Kashmir! Booked under draconian Public Safety Act, 22-year old youth died in police custody!
Sajad Ahmad, a twenty-two year old youth from Northern Kashmir, Sopore, died last Thursday in police custody. In November, last year, he was detained by the Special Operation Group (SGO) under Public Security Act (PSA). He was subject to inhuman torture in police lockup leaving him in a critical condition with life risk. He was then hospitalized for almost fifteen days. As soon as his condition became stable he was again detained and kept in the police lockup for twenty days without any specific charge whatsoever. Then he was moved to sub-district prison in Burramulla and subsequently to District jail of Kupwara. Gulam Nabi Dar, the father of the deceased, reported that due to continuing mental and physical torture by the SOG in jail, Sajad’s condition became serious yet again. Jail authorities showed no concern to Sajad’s worsening physical condition, forcing the family to go to the court. Despite court’s order, the police however continued their deliberate negligence, in the end causing Sajad’s death.
The police and concerned authority, as usual, have already denied charges of negligence and torture of any form. At the same time, they have parroted their usual ‘script’ of conducting enquiries and taking immediate action against police personnel, if found guilty. We all know none will be found guilty ever in such ‘never-to-be’ conducted enquiries. Even if any enquiry happens, as in the case of gang rape of fifty women in Kunan Poshpora or the Shopian rape and murder case, the Indian state and entire ruling class machinery will gang up to give complete protection to their mercenaries i.e. Army, paramilitary and the police in Kashmir.
Draconian laws, like PSA or AFPSA, ensure that blood thirsty Indian army, SOG or police hunt down with complete impunity and brutally silence the protesting people of Kashmir. Under PSA anybody can be detained on the basis of mere suspicion or on a preemptive basis and then can be kept for a period of two years in jails without any trial whatsoever. Hundreds of political activists, protesting youths and even minors have been detained under PSA and then were forced to accept false charges framed against them. Rolling over rollers on thighs, indiscriminate hitting with rifle butts, electrocuting private parts and other forms of sexual exploitation are some of the measures that the self proclaimed ‘world’s largest democracy’ employs in Kashmir to stifle the voices of Azadi. Needless to say, with most cases remaining unreported, many more have succumbed to such custodial torture like Sajjad.
With people’s resistance intensifying against such mass murders and the incessant call of Azadi reverberating across the valley, Indian state and its ruling classes is in deep crisis. Expectedly their response has been to intensify the fascist repression. Condemning Sajad’s custodial death in strongest possible words, DSU calls upon progressive section of this country to oppose fascist Indian state’s occupation of Kashmir and stand in solidarity with people’s democratic demand of the right to self-determination including the right to secede.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 10:34 PM
Tomorrow the JNU students must confront the casteist-communal JNU administration and ensure that the battle for democratisation of education and social justice is once again fought and won. Even after the indefinite hunger strike entering the fifth day, the JNU administration is continuing with its authoritarian, anti-student and elitist position and has refused so far to even recognise the demands to be important enough to be included in the AC meeting’s agenda. Non-recognition of the genuine demands of the student community has always been the first step towards the denial of our rights.
The administration is opposed to the students’ demands because recognising these demands will also mean that it admits and accepts the anti-student policies practiced by the administration. It will mean that the administration recognises the deeply entrenched casteist prejudice among a section of the faculty that shows so blatantly in the discrepancies in viva marks; that they accept that the number of Muslim students are disproportionately low in this so-called progressive university; that the administration for all these years have remained criminally oblivious to the difficulties faced by PH/VH students; that it has never bothered to update the quartile list; that the committee formed for recognising more madrassas have become dysfunctional; that the administration has refused to increase the MCM for years while unjustifiably increasing mess bills, establishment charges, prospectus fee etc. ignoring the protests by the students.
The administration in any university is the representative of ruling class interests. The Indian state is withdrawing from its responsibility of providing free and subsidised education and a major onslaught has already begun to commodify education. Education has been turned into a market and identified by the state and corporate as a major sector for investment and profit making. The deliberate promotion of meritocracy therefore has become crucial for these same forces. We have seen in the past that the JNU administration has tried to sabotage full implementation of 27% OBC reservation with inordinate delays, introducing a wait-list system for admissions, misinterpreting the cut-off, and many other ways. Even after being defeated by the students in a prolonged political and legal struggle, the administration continues to scuttle social justice and democratization of education through various other means.
The discrimination in MPhil-PhD Viva is a glaring instance of casteist targeting of students coming from socially and educationally deprived backgrounds. The administration seeks to change the caste-class composition of the campus in favour of the privileged and parasitic sections of the society to ensure commodification of education, privatisation of basic facilities as well as to maintain the brahminical hegemony over knowledge production. The high ratio of marks in viva is a weapon in the hands of the administration and the casteist section of the faculty to ensure that students coming from deprived background either are stopped from entering the university or they are confined only to the reserved categories. The unreserved seats by default then remain secured entirely for the dominant-caste students, thereby defeating the entire logic and purpose of reservation. Viva marks must be reduced to ten from the current thirty marks to prevent any further discrimination and targeting of students, and this issue must be put in the agenda of the upcoming AC meeting for a speedy resolution. At the same time, we must also resolutely fight against the discrimination faced by OBC students in hostel allotments, and intensify our struggle to force the administration to provide accommodation on a priority basis through a separate hostel list for OBC students.
Demands for increasing the MCM, extending the period of non-Net scholarships, checking the dropout rates, allotting more escort allowance to physically and visually challenged students, including more Madrassas and updating Quartile List are all responsibilities that the administration must not be allowed to deny one more time. These are basic demands of students and the administration must not look at it as mere charity that can be disbursed at their will. All these demands have been foregrounded by the student movement of this campus with a vision to make JNU and higher education more democratic and inclusive. This is the vision of the JNUSU Constitution as well as the struggling masses all across the country who are valiantly fighting for democratic redistribution of resources and to break the control of the privileged over these resources and opportunities.
DSU in the last few weeks has highlighted the glaring reality of disproportionately low representation of Muslim students in JNU. More than 850 students have demanded through a signature campaign that the JNUSU include the demand for 5 Deprivation Points to Muslim students in its Charter of Demands for the upcoming AC meeting in order to address the systemic discrimination and exploitation suffered by the Muslim community. But the AISA-led JNUSU has refused to honour the demand of the students and the aspirations of the Muslim community in the name of a ‘wider debate’. Instead of taking a categorical position on the demand of 5 Deprivation Points for Muslim students, AISA has accused DSU of not raising this demand earlier! We would like to ask AISA, why have they remained silent on the discrimination faced by the Muslims in this campus all these years even when they were in JNUSU? We are aware that AISA’s electoral compulsions to accommodate Hindu right-wing concerns make it eulogise a sanghi and fascist killer like Rahul Sharma and at the same time undermine the genuine demands of the Muslim community. Such highly irresponsible and dubious acts by AISA-led JNUSU are not acceptable. Nor will we allow SFI to pit the immediate demand of 5 Deprivation Points for Muslim students in JNU against the larger demand of fulfilling Ranganath Mishra Committee recommendations. The fight for 10% separate reservation for Muslims is going to be one of the crucial challenges for the progressive and democratic forces in the country. Till this larger goal is achieved, we must collectively fight to force the JNU administration to expand the existing Progressive Admission Policy and to provide 5 Deprivation Points to Muslim students. Tomorrow we must once again assert our collective resolve to fight for these demands aimed at democratisation of education and social justice in the campus.
OBSERVE UNIVERSITY STRIKE!
Join JNUSU’s PROTEST DEMONSTRATION
during AC Meeting 2pm, 19 March, outside SSS 1
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 10:10 PM
March 18, 2012
Rahul Sharma: A Ruthless Executioner of State Repression, Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt? Or a ‘victim of the mining mafia’ as claimed by the JNUSU? AISA-led JNUSU must answer!
Rahul Sharma, an IPS officer who was posted as the SP of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh for many years and who was recently transferred to Bilaspur, committed suicide on the 13th March. There is no surprise that a ruthless police officer like Rahul Sharma is being portrayed as a ‘martyr’ by the communal fascist ABVP, also because he was an active member of ABVP when he was a student of JNU. However, AISA-led JNUSU has not only expressed condolence for his death, but has it gone a step ahead to present him as an upright public servant! Is AISA oblivious of Rahul Sharma’s notorious anti-people record as the Dantewada Superintendent of Police, so well documented by civil rights activists, journalists and writers?
Posted in Dantewada, Rahul Sharma as an IPS officer actively led the Indian state’s brutal war on the fighting adivasi people of south Chhattisgarh. He was the notorious on-ground executioner of the fascist trio: Chidambaram, Raman Singh and the infamous DGP Vishwa Ranjan. He was an advocate and chief organiser of Salwa Judum/SPO death squads in Dantewada, the atrocities committed by them are too well-known to be reminded to the AISA-led JNUSU. After 2009 when the Indian state declared Operation Green Hunt, Rahul Sharma had been one of the main lieutenants of Chidambaram on the ground, participating and overseeing in numerous incidents of fake encounters, torture, destruction of villages, and other forms of state repression. For instance, Rahul Sharma was directly involved in the Singaram massacre in which 19 adivasi villagers were picked up during combing operations and killed in cold blood on 8th January 2009 and later labeled as ‘Maoists’. This notorious police officer was instrumental in the Indian state’s attempts to crush the revolutionary peoples’ movement of Dandakaranya in order to make way for the plunder of rich natural resources of the region by the corporates.
Rahul Sharma’s own words on the grand designs that he sought to achieve in an interview to Tehelka right after orchestrating the Singaram bloodbath were:
“I am fighting to establish the authority of the state. The fact is people have lost the fear of the law because they feel they can get away with anything. The fear of the law is to be ingrained in the people.”
“We need more special laws like the Chhattisgarh Special Powers Act. Paramilitary organisations such as the CRPF want the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to be invoked here. Please understand: the situation here is more precarious than in the northeast.”
“Peace would come to Dantewada if the adivasis would be taught greed.”
We strongly condemn the AISA-led JNUSU which claims to oppose Operation Green Hunt and AFSPA, but at the same time eulogises a criminal like Rahul Sharma who implemented Green Hunt, justified draconian laws like AFSA, and murdered tens of adivasi villagers. AISA has misused the platform of JNUSU which is committed to peoples’ movements and against state terror. AISA’s portrayal of Rahul Sharma as a victim rather than a perpetrator is consistent with its accommodation of right-wing communal politics, much like its support for Anna Hazare farce. The students of the campus are aware of the true nature of AISA’s ‘opposition’ to Green Hunt, when in the face of right wing assault on the JNU Forum against War on People, AISA disassociated from the Forum without any explanation whatsoever in April 2010 branding it as a “Maoist front”! We need to fight and expose the Hindu majoritarian politics of the revisionist AISA in the name of ‘left’ politics
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 12:08 AM
March 17, 2012
DSU Public Meeting - Of arrests, persecution and minority witch hunting: The framing of Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi
On the morning of 6th March at around 11.30 am, plainclothes policemen of the notorious Special Cell of the Delhi arrested a leading Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi when he was returning from India Islamic Cultural Centre, where he used to take classes for children. Within few hours, news channels uncritically reproducing the police claims started flashing the news of his arrest as a big breakthrough in the case of the attack on the Israeli diplomat outside the Israeli embassy on 13th February. Many hours later late at night, the police landed up at his house and forced his son to sign on the arrest memo threatening him dire consequences if he refused. Despite no evidence to implicate him in any way to the attack, he was remanded on the 7th March by the Tis Hazari Court to an unprecedented 20 days police custody. Despite protests from the journalists and thousands of people, he continues to be in police custody and even his family has not been allowed to meet him despite repeated appeals.
Who is Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi and why exactly was he arrested? A senior journalist who has worked in the last 20 years with Doordarshan, BBC, INRA, other leading news agencies and is a regular contributor to many Urdu dailies and periodicals, Kazmi, unlike many other journalists, had consistently and openly expressed his political views which were not in line with the ‘strategic interests’ of the Indian ruling elite. He had extensively covered the war declared by the US imperialists on Iraq on 2003 and had also recently been to Syria to cover the political developments there. More recently just a few days before his arrest, opposing the belligerent war mongering of the US imperialists against Iran, he was one of the panelists in an NDTV talk against the likes of RSS ideologue Tarun Vijay. As someone who been reporting on West Asia for past 20 years, he had made many trips to many of these countries and also knew many languages like Arabic and Persian. Now all this is being held against him as ‘evidences’ of his ‘terrorist’ links!
Kazmi, as an outspoken critic of US imperialism and the Zionist Israeli state had become an eye sore for them and the Indian state. After the attack on the Israeli diplomats, Israel had held Iran responsible for the attack right away. Israeli investigators landed up in India and had been ‘closely cooperating’ with the Indian ‘investigative’ agencies. The arrest of Kazmi can now be seen as a result of this ‘close cooperation’ between the Indian and Israeli investigative agencies. After his arrest, officials of the Mossad, the Israeli investigative agency have also arrived to ‘interrogate’ him and the Indian state has no problems with foreign investigative agencies interrogating its own citizen. As a junior partner of the imperialist forces, the ‘leads’ provided by the Israeli investigative agencies are for the Indian ruling establishment more ‘reliable’ than any evidence. When the courts were pointed out about the lack of any evidence, the public prosecutor defended it by saying that sharing it would mean the real accused would abscond.
The case of Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi is not an isolated case and follows a well repeated pattern of minority witch-hunting where all institutions of the state from the police, judiciary or the media take turns to implicate and brand Muslims as ‘terrorists’. The repeated witch-hunting of Muslims exposes one of the most brutal faces of the Indian ruling class. In various cases of bomb blasts be it Ajmer Sharif, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid blast and others scores of muslims particularly muslim youth have been repeatedly targeted, implicated, arrested, harassed and tortured. They continue to languish in jails even after the bone-chilling confessions of Aseemanand revealing: not muslims, but the Sangh giroh were behind these attacks. The cases of Muslim witch-hunting continues unabashed across the country. The cold blooded murder of Ishrat Jahan and others and the fake encounter killing of two young innocent boys in Batla House are just a few gory instances of a concerted and systemic attack. Last year, three years after they were falsely implicated in the Jaipur bomb blast, a fast track sessions court in Jaipur acquitted 11 of the 14 people. The judge noted how the prosecution was not able to produce even a trace of evidence to prove its claims that these men were building terror networks across the country. They accused on the other hand, recounted the ordeal and torture they underwent at the hands of the police, local goons and the jail authorities. And this again is no isolated incident. Alongside these acquittals more people were being picked up from various places and subject to the same sordid harassment.
The Indian ruling classes are playing the role of a loyal foot soldier of the US-Israel dictated ‘war on terror’. For all the parliamentary parties in India too, the muslim population is either treated as compliant vote-bank or are deemed as ‘terrorists’. The discrimination and persecution of muslims only reflects the hindu fascist character of the Indian state. The case of Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi too is yet another fascist attempt by the repressive regime that throttles all voices of critiques and resistance against their imperialist masters. All democratic forces in the country must unite to ensure his immediate release along with all other implicated people who are currently languishing in various prisons of this country.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 12:39 AM
March 16, 2012
Condemn the Sri Lankan State’s Genocidal War Crimes against Eelam Tamils! Oppose the hypocritical resolution proposed by US and its allies in the UNHRC! Fight for the Punishment of Fascist Rajapakse and his Cohorts!
Almost three years after the brutal genocide of 2009 during the Eelam War and as the Fascist Sri Lankan state flaunts its farcical Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), every day there are new evidences to prove the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state. The most recent instance of war crimes perpetrated by the Sri Lankan army that has come to light is the cold blooded murder of Balachandran, the 12 year son of LTTE leader Prabakaran. While the video is yet to be released by the British media Channel 4, photos of the murder have come out in the public domain. According to the Channel 4 reporting, the footages were taken during the last phase of the War that killed over 40,000 Tamils within a week. The picture shows Balachandran stripped till waist lying on the ground with 5 bullet marks on his chest, evidently shot from a close range. Five other Tamils have been similarly shot along with Balachandran. After analyzing these pictures, forensic pathologists have declared that the distance of the muzzle of the weapon to the boy's chest was no more than two to three feet, that he had been blindfolded and later forced to witness the murder of his fellow Tamils before he himself was executed violating all provisions of international law pertaining to prisoners of war. All of them were killed by the genocidal Sri Lankan army after they surrendered and were in custody of the fascist forces of Rajapaksa.
This is not the first time such evidences have come out against the Sri Lankan state’s genocide. Last year Channel 4 released a documentary - Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, which contained footages of LTTE cadres blindfolded and killed in cold blood, women fighters raped and killed and also the bombing in the ‘No Fire Zones’. There are new evidences emerging from confidential diplomatic cables sent between US and Colombo showing the deliberate denial of humanitarian supplies of food and medicine to Tamils trapped in those grotesquely misnamed ‘No Fire Zones’. The prime focus of the fascist Sri Lankan state in the last two years in the name of rehabilitation had been to change the demography of the north and east (where Tamils are a majority) by building more army barracks, declaring them high security zones and by colonizing the north and east with Sinhala settlements. In a recent step, the Sri Lankan state has begun to even re-confiscate those lands that were declared to be allotted for resettlement of the Tamils. In Jaffna alone around 15 villages totally and 8 villages partially, from Achchuveali and Vazhalaay to Keerimalai – a large tract including Palaali, Kaangheasan-thu’rai (KKS) have been re-confiscated. Through such measures and by brutally crushing any voice of dissent the Sri Lankan state is only continuing the 60 year long genocide on the Eelam Tamils and their right to self-determination.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 5:03 AM
The upcoming Academic council is once again going to be a pitched battleground between the casteist, communal, meritocratic administration on one hand and the students of this campus who envision a socially inclusive campus with democratization of education on the other. Today more than 800 students have participated in a signature campaign demanding the JNUSU to include in its Charter of Demands for the upcoming AC meeting the demand for 5 point deprivation marks to the Muslim students during their admission given the shocking low presence of Muslim students in all centers other than Centers for Urdu, Arabic & Persian language. This is a part of the larger struggle to implement the Ranganath Mishra Committee recommendations for 10% separate reservation for Muslims. We demand that this should be immediately included & fought for. Today an all organization meeting was called by DSU attended by AIBSF, AISA, AISF, CFI, SFI, PSU & UDSF. Other than AISA & SFI other organizations supported the demand for deprivation point for Muslims to be raised in the upcoming AC meeting. While SFI has outrightly disagreed with the deprivation point, AISA said it will be taken up in the JNUSU council meeting.
The demand for reduction of Viva-voce marks to prevent the recurring casteist discrimination is one more crucial demand that the student community must clinch this time. It has been more than a year since this demand was forcefully raised by the students. But the casteist administration has not even enlisted this important demand as an agenda in the AC. The demands for increasing MCM, extending non-net scholarships, recognizing more Madarsas, increasing allowances & addressing the infrastructural demands of the PH/VH students, reduction of Eligibility Criteria for OBC students, institutional addressing of the issue of language barrier for non-English speaking students are all directed towards the process of democratizing education and making the campus socially inclusive and ensuring social justice! The administration must also restore the integrated BA/MA courses in SLL&CS! The updating of the quartile list for backward regions also needs to be expedited. The ‘merit’ criteria of the AC/BoS student representatives must be removed immediately so that elections can be held after that. The administration has remained unresponsive so far to all these major demands. We appeal to the students to participate in tonight’s Protest march and the following indefinite hunger strike so that the administration is forced to concede to all these demands for democratization of education and social justice!
Join JNUSU’s Protest March Culminating into
Indefinite Hunger Strike
From Ganga Dhaba
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:58 AM
Intensify the struggle for democratization of education: Force the casteist-communal JNU administration in the upcoming AC meeting to reduce Viva marks to 10, give 5 deprivation points to Muslim students and ensure other measures for a socially just and inclusive education!!
In the upcoming Academic Council meeting the students will once again have to fight a pitched battle against the administration on the question of ensuring democratization of education and making the campus and the admission policy socially just. The casteist and elitist administration has always stood against social justice in this campus. The administration has always tried to scuttle SC/ST, PH and OBC reservations in the name of meritocracy. Its move to gradually privatize education and basic facilities are also the part of the larger agenda of commodifying education for the privileged and the affluent sections. But the students of JNU have always stood against the casteist assault by the administration as well as the powers that be. Students have fought to ensure a progressive admission policy that includes deprivation points for women students, students coming from remote areas and also for OBC students before 27% OBC reservation was implemented. The students have fought repeatedly against privatization, against introduction of reactionary communal courses during the NDA regime, ensured proper implementation of 27% OBC reservation. Time and again the administration has been defeated in political and legal battles to ensure social justice and democratization of education. In the same legacy of struggle, the upcoming AC meeting will have to emerge as one more battlegrounds to fight the casteist and communal administration and its meritocratic and exclusivist policies.
The reduction of viva-voce marks from thirty to ten. Our struggle for this demand has been going on for over a year now. Various RTIs have time and again confirmed that students coming from oppressed caste background are systematically undermarked in the viva-voce for MPhil entrance. It is due to casteist discrimination during the MPhil viva-voce that only 22% OBC students were able to take admissions last year. There is a clear Supreme Court guideline that the scope of such subjective evaluation should not exceed 10 to 15%. In all other central universities as well as public exams, the viva-voce marks are not more than ten percent. In JNU however it is as high as 30; this gives ample scope for systemic discrimination against students coming from deprived backgrounds, who are given abysmally low marks in viva even when they perform well in the written exam. The administration has time and again agreed in principle to the reduction of the viva marks but no concrete efforts have been taken so far to ensure this. In the upcoming AC meeting, students must clinch this long drawn struggle to ensure that the viva marks are reduced to ten.
The representation of students from all section of the societies especially the oppressed sections lays out the foundations for a true democratization of education. The Sachar Committee report has clearly exposed the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims. Following the Sachar Committee Report, the Justice Ranganath Mishra Committee Recommendations clearly suggested 15% separate reservation for religious minorities in education and employment, of which 10% should be earmarked for Muslims. Needlessly to say, the communal fascist Indian state is not going to take any measures that can improve the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims. What the state did instead as a poll gimmick was to include 4.5% reservation for religious minorities within the OBC quota, which was opposed by both Muslims and OBC people. The implementation of the separate 10% reservation for Muslims is one of the biggest challenges for all progressive and democratic forces who stand by social justice, which we must fight to ensure in the days to come.
In JNU too, the overall representation of Muslim students is very low if one looks at the center-wise distribution. The voters’ list made available during the recent students union elections shows that Muslim students are concentrated mainly in the centers for Urdu, Persian and Arabic languages, where they number 52%. But excluding these centers, the total number of Muslim students in the rest of the centers comes approximately to a mere 7%. In SSS, the percentage of Muslim students is approximately 8%; in SIS, it is approximately 6.6%; in the Science Schools, the integrated total comes around 8.6%; in School of Arts and Aesthetics, it is a mere 2.4%. In SLL&CS, excluding the aforementioned centers, the strength of Muslim students is a mere 4.3%.
Since it is the progressive and democratic students movement in JNU that has forced the administration to implement policies of social justice, DSU demands that as part of the larger struggle for Muslim reservations in education and employment, 5 deprivation points should be given to Muslim students during the admission. A larger united battle of all progressive and democratic forces must be waged to clinch this important demand. DSU sees this as an integral part of making JNU more democratic and inclusive. DSU demands that the JNUSU includes this in the charter of demands alongside the demand to increase MCM, extend the period of non-net scholarships, increase escort allowance to physically challenged students, address the language barrier, recognize more madrasas, update the quartiles as well as other demands for social justice and democratization of education.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:50 AM
Condemn the arrest and false implication of Prominent Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi! Resist and Defeat the continued Witch-Hunt of Muslims by the Indian state!
On the 6th of March, a senior Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi, who has been a vocal critic of US imperialism and the Zionist Israel state, was picked up by the Delhi police from outside the India Islamic Cultural Center and falsely implicated him in the attack on the Israeli diplomat on 13th February 2012. Kazmi has worked in the past 20 years for Doordarshan, BBC, other leading news agencies and various Urdu dailies. Sleuths of the notorious Delhi Police Special Cell in plain clothes whisked him away in a car. Within hours, the corporate media exemplifying their complete lack of journalistic ethics and objectivity, started faithfully reproducing the police claims. According to the ‘investigative agencies’, he provided ‘logistical support’ to a ‘module’ from Iran in an ‘international conspiracy’ to blow up Israeli diplomats. The foreign trips that he had made to Iran, Syria and other West Asian countries as part of his professional duties as a journalist or his knowledge of several West Asian languages are now being held against him. The Delhi Union of Journalists and International Federation of Journalists have unequivocally condemned his arrest.
Despite having absolutely no evidence to implicate him in the attack, Kazmi has been remanded to an unprecedented 20 days police custody by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at the Tis Hazari Court under the notorious UAPA. The counsel appearing for Kazmi pointed out that the police had forged documents at the time of his arrest (they forced his son to sign on the arrest memo hours after his arrest late at night after warning him of dire consequences if he did not comply). The police have not produced any case diary, and the policemen who arrested him were in plainclothes, exposing the illegal nature of his arrest. The police have refused to cite any evidence against him, and this they have ‘justified’ by claiming that sharing the evidence would result in the absconding of the main ‘accused’. The complete baselessness of the allegations is borne out by the fact that Kazmi was sitting on a dharna at the Congress Office on the day of the attack protesting against the land grabbing of a shrine in Jor Bagh. Almost a week after his arrest, the demands of Kazmi’s family members to meet him have been denied and they have still not been allowed to meet the imprisoned journalist.
Kazmi’s arrest does not come as a surprise as it follows the well-known pattern of minority witch-hunt by the Indian state. While the corporate media is in the habit of faithfully parroting the official dictums of the Indian state, Kazmi has been expressing his political views openly that were not in conformity with its ‘strategic interests’. He had appeared just a few days back on NDTV arguing against the war-mongering of US imperialism against Iran. For the past few weeks, teams from Israel and the Indian intelligence have been working together and Kazmi’s family has pointed out how his arrest has been orchestrated to please the Israeli government. Officials of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad have already arrived in Delhi to interrogate Kazmi.
The Indian state being a loyal servant of the US-Israel nexus has no problems with foreign investigative agencies interrogating one of its own citizens. Ever since the so called ‘war on terror’ declared by the US imperialists, the Indian state has played the role of a loyal foot-soldier. It has unleashed its own brand of ‘war on Islamic terrorism’. All parliamentary parties too have taken turns to vilify the Muslims as ‘terrorists’. The list of persecuted Muslims is endless. Many are still languishing in prison on trumped up charges, while the involvement of rightwing fascist organizations in bomb blasts across the country has been deliberately overlooked. DSU expresses its solidarity with Kazmi, his family and colleagues in their fight for his release and for justice. To put an end to such witch-hunt and persecution of religious minorities, we must unite with the oppressed masses and intensify the fight to overhaul this Hindu-majoritarian state.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:45 AM
For many of us the political positions and actions of two of the ‘Leftist’ organisations on the campus during the anti-Lyngdoh struggle may have come as a surprise or disappointment. With their usual double-speak and hypocrisy, both SFI and AISA has claimed to opposed the draconian Lyngdoh guidelines, while at the same time eagerly accepting and contesting in Lyngdoh-regulated JNUSU elections after abandoning the JNUSU elections. In fact, AISA now claims that it wants to be in JNUSU in order to carry forward the struggle against Lyngdoh, while SFI has banished the fight against Lyngdoh from even its rhetoric! There is a competition between these two organisations and a drama of allegations and counter-allegations to claim the credit for facilitating the Lyngdoh-bound elections on the student community.
Amidst the sound and fury of this election-centric shadow-boxing between these so-called Marxist organisations, we must not forget that both were together in every step to bring the anti-student, meritocratic and discriminatory Lyngdoh regulations to the campus – be it in ‘negotiations’ with the Solicitor General, in the farcical ‘referendum’, in UGBMs placing joint resolutions in favour of Lyngdoh, calling a hunger strike and a university strike asking the administration to notify the elections as per Lyngdoh, demanding the formation of the authoritarian Grievance Redressal Cell, and so on. The SFI-AISA alliance even teamed up with arch reactionary organisations like ABVP and NSUI, and bypassing the Joint Struggle Committee went to the extent of holding secret meetings with YFE to facilitate Lyngdoh! SFI-AISA consistently opposed DSU’s suggestion to hold JNUSU elections as per its constitution or to make the JSC a elected body by holding its elections guided by the JNUSU Constitution as an interim measure, only with the aim of finally surrendering to Lyngdoh and settling for the status-quo. We should be under no illusion that with this ‘illustrious’ history of opportunist alliance, betrayal and surrender to the authorities, either AISA or SFI will confront the administration and the state for the students’ rights inside or outside JNUSU in the future, let alone leading the political and legal struggle against Lyngdoh.
The bankrupt politics of betrayal and surrender is inherent in the revisionism practiced by CPI-CPI(M) and CPI(ML) Liberation in the name of Marxism. In the nearly hundred years of the communist movement in India from its inception in the early 1920s, the undivided CPI never led the anti-colonial struggle nor did it fight for a revolutionary transformation of the society. CPI with its class-base in the landowning sections and the petty-bourgeoisie choose to tail behind the feudal-comprador Indian National Congress which colluded with British colonialism to crush the anti-feudal and imperialist struggles of the workers, peasants and other oppressed people. CPI rendered a great service to the colonial rulers and their domestic agents in the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha by diverting every genuine struggle of the people against feudal and colonial oppression in the mire legalism, reformism, economism and parliamentary constitutionalism – thereby blunting the tide of class struggles foreseen by Bhagat Singh and other early revolutionaries. But in doing so they have betrayed the class interests of the downtrodden toiling masses – workers, peasants, Dalits and Adivasis – those very people of whom they claimed to be the vanguard. CPI betrayed each and every historic struggle of the landless and poor peasants, be it during the Tebhaga movement of Bengal in the 1940s, the Telangana armed struggle in Nizam’s Hyderabad during 1946-51, and other peoples’ movements.
The Indian poor peasantry’s struggle for land, dignity and social change remained unfulfilled under the leadership of CPI, while its descendant the CPI(M) strengthened the power of the rural landowning classes through its sham ‘land reforms’ in Bengal and Kerala. After coming to power in these states, CPI(M) degenerated into a social-fascist force, cracking down and massacring the oppressed classes of people who stood up for their rights. From the planned murder of thousands of Naxalite revolutionaries in Bengal in 1960s and ’70s, the killing and displacement of thousands of Dalits in Marichjhapi in late-1970s, the atrocities on Dalits and Adivasis demanding land in Chengara and systematic targeting of Muslims in Kerala, and not the least in Singur, Nandigram and Jangalmahal, CPI(M)’s history is stained with the blood of the oppressed people who fought for their rights.
By following this politics of revisionism, CPI(M) did not hesitate to fire upon the peasants of Nandigram for handing over their land to the Indonesia’s Salem group’s proposed SEZ, to welcome Jindal to open a steel factory in Salboni, Jangalmahal or to join the US’s ‘war on terror’ hysteria by terming Madrasas as the ‘dens of terrorists’. In the same way CPI(M) opposed the democratic demand of the Gorkhaland state, and suppressing it with police brutalities. It was the suppressed long-standing anger against the social-fascist rule of CPI(M) that found militant expression in the Adivasi-Moolvasi peoples’ upsurge in Jangalmahal which became a part of the ongoing struggle for revolutionary social transformation. To crush this peoples’ movement which has been aptly termed as the Second Naxalbari, CPI(M) colluded with the Congress at the Centre and unleashed the Joint Forces and its own vigilante-gang of Harmad Bahini on the people of Jangalmahal, a policy faithfully continued by the fascist Mamata Banerjee government. The growing class struggle in the form of protracted peoples’ war led by the revolutionaries adhering to the ideology and practice of Maoism has exposed and isolated CPI(M) from Bengal politics, while it has made the revisionist politics of renegade organisations like CPI(ML) Liberation irrelevant in the country.
Liberation-AISA’s betrayal of the ideology and programme of Naxalbari need no elaboration. Its debacle over the last forty years of following the revisionist path remains a stern warning to those who still harbour the false theory that revolutionary social transformation can be achieved in India by peaceful means through parliamentary elections. The revisionist politics of Liberation has not only led to its justification of India’s fake parliamentary ‘democratic’ system put up by the ruling classes as a mask for oppression, but also has prompted it to launched ideological and armed attacks on the revolutionary movement to defend the ruling-class interests. Devoid of any commitment to the toiling masses and their political aspirations, the opportunist Liberation has built electoral alliances with social-fascist CPI(M) in many states, including Bihar. No wonder that oppressed people of Bihar and other regions have abandoned Liberation in large numbers to join the revolutionary movement. Guided by such a record of betrayals and rank opportunism by their parent parties CPI(M) and Liberation, SFI and AISA too have betrayed the students of this campus at every critical juncture, including the struggle against Lyngdoh. The experience of the communist movement shows that revisionists with a mask of Marxism have always stood against the masses and their democratic struggles, and therefore has to be fought and defeated by the genuine forces struggling for social transformation. In JNU too, we must intensify our struggle against SFI-AISA. DSU appeals to the student community to strengthen the Struggle Committee against Lyngdoh, Privatisation and Brahminism formed by the students of the campus to carry forward the struggle against Lyngdoh.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:41 AM
It has been exactly ten years since the genocide against Muslims was carried out by RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal and other organisations of the Sangh giroh in Gujarat starting from 28 February 2002 with the active involvement of the state machinery. This planned massacre was conducted across 154 assembly constituencies of Gujarat out of the 182 in 151 towns and 993 villages as per NHRC records. The highly underestimated government figure of the Muslims massacred in the two days puts it at 1169, whereas the real death toll is believed to be close to 3,000, given that many of the bodies could never be found or recovered. During those days of fascist mayhem, murderous Hindu fascist gangs organised by the chief minister Narendra Modi and his RSS cohorts targeted thousands of Muslims and their property in a meticulously planned manner reminiscent of the horrors of Nazi extermination of the Jews. Heinous crimes from mob lynching to gang-rape, even slitting open pregnant women’s wombs and killing the foetuses, burning of people alive – all were committed by the RSS-VHP-BJP led xenophobic mobs with full support from the state machinery, including the police and government administration.
After making the plans for this pogrom, the communal-fascist Narendra Modi government instructed his administration to turn a blind eye for two days in which RSS was asked to carry out this unrestrained pogrom. Gujarat Police in fact supplied the marauding gangs with bullets and weapons, apart from instigating the mobs and declining to intervene even after repeated calls for help by the Muslims. Truckloads of swords were bought by the RSS from Punjab, and bombs were prepared by the sanghis days in advance to carry out the genocide. As if having so many in their community killed, injured, raped and properties destroyed by the Hindu-fascists was not enough, even after ten years of ordeal the affected people of Gujarat genocide have been denied justice. While 11 Muslims have been handed down death sentence falsely implicating them for burning the Sabarmati Express in Godhra, none of the Hindu fascists involved in the Gujarat pogrom has been given such a sentence. The perpetrators not only enjoy full immunity from law but also control political power in Gujarat as the ‘democratically elected’ government!
All religious minorities – be it the Muslims, Christians or Sikhs – have borne the brunt of Hindu communal-fascist genocides and persecution , no matter which party of the ruling classes are in power. The massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and UP after the killing of Indira Gandhi in October 1984 which left more than 3,000 Sikhs brutally murdered, was planned, led and executed by Congress leaders, while the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi justified this genocide by stating that when a big tree falls, there is bound to be tremors. Senior and local Congress leaders held meetings in order to mobilize their local supporters. Some of them, such as Congress MP Sajjan Kumar and Congress Trade Union Leader Lalit Maken provided alcohol and money to rioters, encouraging them to perpetrate the killings. Rioters were provided with free transportation from their locality in the outskirts of Delhi to the city. Trucks, tempos and other means of transportation, including DTC buses and even police vehicles were extensively used to carry the mobs to those areas of the city where Sikhs were concentrated. Congress leaders supplied them with lathis, iron bars, knives, tridents and kerosene. The leaders also supplied the fascist gangs they organised with the names and addresses of Sikhs from electoral and school registration as well as ration lists, with the help of which this pogrom was executed targeting the Sikhs. None of these leaders who were directly involved in this genocide, including Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath, H K L Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar etc., has been punished for their crimes even after 28 years.
The genocides against religious minorities illustrate the Hindu communal nature of the Indian state and the ruling classes. The present Indian state was created on the foundations of the partition and the subsequent bloodbath engineered by Hindu-communal forces. Every parliamentary party in India represents the interests of the ruling classes, and are guilty of perpetrating or accentuating communal carnage on the minorities, notwithstanding their tall claims to ‘secularism’ and ‘democracy’. It is not only the Congress and BJP, but all other parties who are in power such as the regional parliamentary parties and the so-called ‘left’ CPI(M) have fomented and carried forward the Hindu-majoritarian agenda. The recent attacks – such as on the Christians in Kandhmal of BJD-ruled Odisha or on Muslims in Forbesganj in JD(U)-ruled Bihar and on Muslim organisations by CPI(M) during its rule in Kerala, clearly show the denial of political, social and economic equality, dignity and basic rights to the religious minorities.
In addition, even government-sponsored reports such as the Sachar Committee Report and the Rangnath Mishra Committee Report has brought to light the deplorable economic and social status of the Muslims – the largest religious minority community in India – which is said to be even worse than the Dalits in some aspects. After the launch of the US-led worldwide ‘war on terror’ on Muslims to save the crisis-ridden imperialist economy, the Indian ruling classes too have been aggressively persecuting the Muslims of India. The Sangh-giroh have executed many bomb-blasts and other terrorist acts targeting the Muslims in the last few years, while thousands of Muslim youth have been falsely implicated by the Indian state in charges under draconian ‘anti-terror’ laws like TADA, POTA, UAPA, NSA and imprisoned for years in jails. Muslim youth organisations like SIMI have been banned without any basis – in order to terrorise and force the Muslims into submission and silence. Fake encounters and torture are regularly deployed by the state to break any resistance by them against the continued injustice and oppression.
The question is, can the religious minorities of India expect justice from the present exploitative system for the crimes they have suffered? Can one expect the same socio-political system which has continued to carry out the genocides of religious minorities, oversaw the demolition of Babri Masjid and the countrywide massacre of Muslims following it, waged a domestic version of US’s ‘war on terror’, failed to punish the perpetrators of communal-fascist genocides and mass-murders, to deliver justice to the religious minorities and guarantee a life of equality, dignity and political freedom? The experience in the last 65 years of ‘Indian democracy’ has shown that this Hindu-majoritarian, fascist state and its auxiliaries of legislature, executive, judiciary, parliamentary parties, police and army, etc. will only protect the interest of the feudal-comprador and Hindu-brahminical ruling classes of the country, not the oppressed masses belonging to the religious minorities. The need therefore is to build and strengthen the struggle for a revolutionary social transformation by destroying the existing regressive system…
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:36 AM
Countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution – Mao Tse-tung
Indian state’s continued war on the people and nationalities: Not many people in Indian are aware that the military strategies and tactics adopted by the Indian armed forces to crush the national liberation struggle of the Mizos from 1966 to 1986 was much in common with the ones used by the US on the Vietnamese people during the same time. In February 1966, the Indian air force bombed Aizawl and other centres of the Indian occupation forces liberated by the guerrilla fighters of the Mizo National Front. Apart from destroying thousands of houses and murdering many hundreds of Mizos through aerial bombardments, Indian state carried out the policy of ‘strategic hamleting’ in Mizoram – a technique which was invented and widely used by the US Army in Vietnam. Much like the Salwa Judum camps of Chhattisgarh where adivasis are forcibly kept confined after displacing them from their villages in order to cut them off from the revolutionary movement, in Mizoram hundreds of villages were destroyed and the inhabitants were forcefully clustered into camps controlled by the Indian army. During these twenty years, the Mizos suffered the worst forms of state terror and brutality perpetrated by the Indian army, paramilitary and the air force. Fake encounters, rape, burning of villages, destruction of crops and property of the people, torture, custodial deaths became the order of the day – all because the Mizos demanded their right to self-determination and independence from Indian occupation.
Though it was the first occasion when Air Force was used by the Indian state on people whom it considers to be its own citizens, this was not the first time that Indian state has used its military might to suppress the democratic aspirations of the people in the subcontinent. We must not forget that the Indian army was used against the people participating in Telangana armed insurrection during 1946-51 and also to crush the Naxalbari uprising of 1967-72. The rulers of India used its army to suppress under its jackboots the demand of the Sikhs to form a separate Khalistan in the early 1980s. An independent princely state like Manipur was incorporated into the Indian union in October 1949 by using coercion and the might of the Indian armed forces, rather than allowing the people to democratically decide their political destiny. But such authoritarian measures of the Indian state have failed to extinguish the struggle of the Manipuri people to recover their lost independence. From 1964 till the present, an armed struggle for national liberation is being waged by the people of Manipur, facing severe repression exemplified by the rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama by the Indian army in 2004.
Kashmir was forcibly occupied by India in 1947, and since then is under the army rule. The Indian state never honoured the promise it made of a UN supervised referendum whereby the people of Kashmir would decide whether they form an independent Kashmir, merged with Pakistan or unite with India. To quell the Kashmiri people’s aspiration for azadi and to instil in them a sense of fear, Indian state wanted to set an example by hanging Maqbool Butt, a Kashmiri freedom fighter, in February 1984. However, rather than deterring the Kashmiris, the unjust murder and martyrdom of Maqbool Butt inspired them to take the struggle for azadi to a higher form – the phase of armed national liberation struggle. Nearly a hundred thousand people have lost their lives at the hands of the Indian occupation army till date. Like any other oppressed people of the subcontinent who have stood up for their rights against the Indian state, the Kashmiris too have undergone untold sufferings, including constantly living under brutal army repression, murder of freedom fighters and civilians, fake encounters, forced ‘disappearances’, physical and psychological torture, rape, destruction of the national economy, stifling of freedom of expression and dissent, and so one. There is no sign that having committed dastardly crimes of such proportions to keep Kashmir forcibly in the Indian union, the present Indian state will on its own allow the people of Kashmir a chance to exercise their right to self-determination.
Even on occasions when the people of various oppressed nationalities have declared their popular will to form free and independent countries of their own, the Indian ruling classes have never respected their democratic decision. For instance, in May 1951 the Nagas conducted a referendum to decide the political future of their nation, and 99% of the Nagas voted in favour of forming an independent and sovereign Nagaland. However, Indian state’s refusal to recognise their democratic aspirations and its use of coercive power to keep the Nagas under Indian hegemonic rule led to the armed liberation movement led by the Naga National Council from 1952. From 1975, National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) has spearheaded the Naga self-determination movement through armed struggle against the Indian occupation forces. The Indian rulers considered the political struggle of the Nagas primarily as a ‘law-and-order problem’, and have tried all means to deny them freedom. During the mutual ceasefire and political talks with the Nagas from 1997 till today, the Indian state has used delay tactics and the colonial divide-and-rule policy with the only aim of forcing the Nagas to give up their demand. The ceasefire agreement and the mutually-agreed guidelines of the talks are being regularly flouted by the Indian government, the collective leadership of the Nagas are being kept virtually under house-arrest and even imprisoned on frivolous charges, as in the case of Anthony Shimrey, the head of foreign affairs of the NSCN. Indian state has also tried to criminalise the Naga movement and to portray NSCN as a ‘terrorist’ group. Thus in the garb of peace, Indian state has been waging a relentless war on the Naga people over the last fourteen years.
Indian Union is a colonial formation, a prison-house of nationalities established through the use of force and intimidation, not with consent and popular will. If the two hundred years of colonial rule marks the forcible integration of many independent nationalities like the Assamese to the Indian union, 1947 marks the territorial division of many other nationalities – Kashmiris, Sikhs, Nagas, Mizos, Bengalis, etc., which have been artificially separated by international boundaries. The continued Indian occupation of Kashmir, Nagalim, Manipur and Assam, or its war on the people of central and eastern India under ‘Operation Green Hunt’ shows that the army is the cornerstone of political power of the Indian state, neither popular will nor the principles of democracy. This national oppression is maintained by the Indian ruling classes for continuing the semi-feudal semi-colonial system of extraction and exploitation of peoples’ resources. This is not the question of mere violation of ‘human rights’ as it is often reduced to be. More than that, it is the violation and denial of the collective political rights of the people. By imposing its regressive logic of ‘national integration’ etc. on the students, the draconian Lyngdoh guidelines wish us to legitmise this denial by the Indian state, and to overlook the historical crimes it has committed against oppressed nationalities. It is only by resolutely fighting against Lyngdoh that we can extend our true solidarity to the peoples and nations fighting for their liberation.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:34 AM
Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.
- Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Even a cursory look at the state of education in India after 65 years of so-called ‘independence’ reveals the true nature of the society we live in. The vast majority of the people are denied their share of basic means and necessities for a dignified life – be it work, food, shelter , education or healthcare. The latent class and caste divisions in the society plays a decisive role in keeping the working people, Dalits, tribal communities and religious minorities from even the right to basic education. From primary to higher education, the class/caste character of the present oppressive system becomes blatantly evident, where the small but powerful section of the society corners all avenues of education and the benefits brought by education. Even leaving aside the question of content and aim of education, the sheer vastness of the people of the country who are forced to remain out of the education system is in itself enough to explode the claim of the ‘largest democracy’ in the world’. Only 15 out of every hundred students enrolled for primary education reach high school level, while only 2 of them make it to college-level education.
The prevailing elitist system of ‘modern’ education is a legacy of British colonialism framed by the infamous Macaulay to create a subservient class of native collaborators in consolidating its oppressive administration. This system strengthened rather than displacing the old and regressive feudal education in which the brahminical castes maintained supremacy and stranglehold over production and dissemination of knowledge. That things have not changed much after the transfer of power from the British to the Indian ruling classes in 1947 is corroborated by the meagre educational opportunities open to the oppressed and marginalised sections. For instance, only 30% of Dalit children receive basic education while a mere 8.37% of all Dalits receive higher education at college level. Between 1983 and 2000 enrolment rate of Dalit girls inched from 15.72% to 32.61%, when compared to their dominant caste counterparts whose enrolment reached from 43.56% to 59.15% in the period.
The Indian state, which has been the primary instrument in the hands of the exploiting classes to protect their interest, has predictably did precious little to decolonise or to dismantle the feudal, brahminical and Hindu communal education system. Indian state’s expenditure on education – which was never a significant part of its budget – has been gradually reduced, and has come down to 4.36% in 2009-10 from 5.16% in 2008-09. Moreover, the measures of social justice such as reservation for the oppressed sections such as the Dalits, adivasis, OBCs and religious minorities which came after long drawn peoples’ struggles, have never been implemented in letter in spirit by the brahminical and Hindu majoritarian Indian ruling classes, be it Congress, BJP or CPI(M). Even the so-called premiere institutions like DU illegally transfers thousands of seats reserved for OBC students to the unreserved category (which are virtually reserved for the dominant-caste students) every year and thereby openly flouts the ‘law of the land’ with impunity. Likewise, the deplorable condition of education among the Muslim community in Bengal – a state ruled for over three decades by the ‘communist’ CPI(M) – has been recently exposed by the Sachar Committee Report, while similar situation prevails in other regions of the country as well.
The assault of imperialism on education is also on the rise. Higher education remains accessible to only a few who can afford to pay hefty fees for technical courses in IITs, IIMs, engineering, medical and media institutes, universities and so on, be it public or private. The so-called ‘merit’ is not a criterion of admission for those who can pay large capitation fees and buys degrees in the market. India which boasts of having the third largest education system in the world after China and the U.S., is also becoming a lucrative market for imperialism and their local agents – the Indian big capitalists. Conservative estimates put the current ‘education market’ to be worth $68 billion. There is a scramble for acquiring a share in this lucrative ‘business’, and thousands of private educational institutions are being opened by foreign investor-politician-big capitalist nexus all over the country. Higher education sector, which was overwhelmingly funded by public money till two decades ago, is slowly becoming the monopoly of the private sector, whose sole aim is profit maximisation. The Indian state and its MHRD is playing the role of facilitators in this process by inviting foreign and private investment with open arms, so much so that today there is hardly any restriction on opening colleges, universities and technical institutions with completely private or foreign-funding. The elitist and exclusionary education system inherited from the British which in any case was against the participation of the large majority of the masses is now going to be further enclosed. With no regulation for implementing reservation or any other policy of social justice in the privately run institutions and the decline in establishment of state-funded ones, the exclusion of the oppressed masses from educational and social opportunities will be complete.
The character and objective of an education system is determined by the nature of ruling classes that hold political power: Not surprisingly, a brahminical and caste-based education system was instituted by the feudal rulers of medieval India which was later modified to serve the interests of the colonial rulers. The present rulers of India – which is a joint dictatorship of the feudal forces and the big bourgeoisie – likewise has established a system of education that only benefits their imperialist masters and their own kith and kin, leaving the vast majority deprived of educational opportunities. Thus the question of ushering in a new, democratic, scientific and pro-people education system is directly connected to the question of political power. It is only after the capture of political power by the wretched of the earth that a new society and along with a new education system can be established by uprooting the decadent system of the present. The students therefore must strengthen the struggle for a revolutionary social transformation, which in the concrete conditions of the Indian society, can only be achieved by following the path of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. With this aim in mind, we must intensify our struggles and make all efforts for the democratisation of the education system, where JNU’s progressive student movement has an important role to play.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 4:31 AM