Spare the universities, please! by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (February 19, 2016)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Over the last few months it has become quite evident that the NDA government at the Centre is hostile to the life of the mind that universities signify. The government’s thinking on the subject is an extension of the Sangh’s thinking, like in other area of life. The government seems to represent the RSS, not the people of India.
From the very beginning, the Sangh has been hostile to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) at Delhi because of its Left-liberal orientation. The university has always been on the target of the Sangh as an article published recently (and quoted by supporters of JNU) in the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya amply demonstrates.
The government has unleashed a reign of terror against a number of JNU students, including the students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, on flimsy charges. The students have been booked under charge of sedition, a ridiculous colonial law meant to intimidate freedom-loving Indians. Already the Supreme Court has, in its great wisdom, read down the law, which is least likely to persuade judges to give the students any harsh punishment.
Another unbecoming aspect of this petty-minded dispute on part of the state is its initial attempt to frame the students on the charge of working on the orders of Hafiz Sayeed of LeT, a terrorist organisation based in Pakistan. The most ludicrous part of this is that a person no less than India’s home minister publicly announced that the students had been working on the orders of Hafiz Sayeed. The government had to face embarrassment when it had to, again publicly, retract and clarify that the Sayeed angle was a concoction.
This government is given to making exaggerated claims and wild allegations. Like all other Sanghis, government ministers do not hesitate before calling somebody “anti-national”. Being called an “anti-national” is a serious allegation which nobody should level against anyone without sufficient proof. What face and what credibility the government has left after its wild Hafiz Sayeed allegation? No wonder that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi consoled a huge gathering of agitated JNU students saying, “No, you are not anti-national. Those who call you so are anti-national”. If the Hafiz Sayeed allegation is a concoction, what is the proof that the sedition charge too is not cooked up?
If such serious and false charges can be publicly levelled against the students at such high level of government, then the police are surely going to be brutal with the students and chances of terrible torture in police custody are pretty high as policemen are known to torture and kill people uncomfortable to governments to curry favour and get promotion. We are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of students targeted by the police.
Meanwhile, the targeted students have circulated a video in which ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, student wing of RSS) students are shown shouting pro-Pakistan and pro-Kashmir Azadi slogans. They have also made the video available to leaders of AAP, the party that runs Delhi government. The RSS is known to be an expert in such tricks, JNU students have been telling people who care to listen.
They have cited some strange bomb blast cases. When some Muslims accused in some bomb blast cases were to get bail in court cases, light-intensity bombs were set off in the town where the case was being heard, a day or two before the bail plea hearing. In such cases the bail plea was invariably rejected. Their tactics came to light and stopped) after Hindutva terrorists were nabbed by Hemant Karkare’s team. These bail-preventing blasts were the handiwork of Sangh terrorists. Such tactic comes easy to RSS-trained persons.
That the slogan-shouting mischief could really be the doing of ABVP is indicated by the fact that in recent years at several places Sangh men were killed trying to make bombs. Kurtas, pyjamas, and skull caps were found at the sites along with false beards. The idea was to attack Muslim sites in “Muslim dress”, complete with flowing heards, so that the deed could be attributed to Muslim terrorists. For years India’s official position was that Pakistan’s ISI bombed the Samjhauta Express, killing dozens of Muslim travellers to Pakistan, who included both Indians and Pakistanis. This case too, was unearthed by Karkare as the handiwork of Hindutva terrorists.
The past record of Sangh indicates that the JNU students’ claims could be true. The attack on JNU has galvanised Indian universities into a protest mode. Four hundred top universities of the world, including Harvard and Yale, have declared solidarity with JNU and demanded release of Kanhaiya Kumar and dropping of all charges.
Meanwhile, Sangh men have declared that 18 universities in India are on their hit list. The way they have orchestrated the forced suicide of Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad Central University is an indication of to what extent they can go. Vemula was the sixth Dalit student in a series forced to kill themselves by a casteist and communal ideology.
The Centre has also opened a decided issue: it has sought to end the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, and Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, in a most ill-advised manner. Nobody knows whether these two Muslim universities are among the 18 universities on target, or whether they are being targeted separately.
This unnecessary turmoil has taken up all the available space for national news. At least temporarily, this is good for the Central government, because it distracts people and they have no time to ask it what it has done for the country. The fact is that the government performance has been extremely poor.