Political battles are no longer fought in time of elections but are now fought in universities. They are not a battle with rules. It is one sided to say the least. The ABVP students forced shutdown of a seminar on ‘cultures of protest’ on February 21 at Ramjas College, of Delhi University, where JNU student leaders Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were to speak. The next day ABVP targeted students who had gathered to protest and threw bricks and stones at them and went ahead thrashing many with total impunity, with the Delhi Police as mute spectators. The video cameras recording the violence tell the whole story.
The Central government which had immediately involved itself in last year’s JNU incident, this time chose to remain silent. It was after all protecting its student wing leaders. The trouble has now spread to Pune. Activists of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) clashed with members of the Left-leaning Students Federation of India (SFI) at the Savitribai Phule Pune University on Friday night, following a dispute over putting up posters on the Ramjas College controversy.
The “anti-national” blanket
The ABVP recognises that JNU student leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid have emerged as impressive public figures who can speak very forcefully on a range of political issues – and has decided that the best way of limiting their influence is by not allowing them to speak at all.
The BJP knows the rules of the game and the power of social media. The people can no longer be allowed to listen to these politically aware, thinking young men. They have proved their power of “critical thinking” and can influence many- something the retrogressive ABVP will never allow- by resorting to violence.