Bengaluru, Mar 15: A protesting student placed a placard above his head that said 'the primary duty of the revolutionary is to be educated' hinting the need of education to seed the quest of questioning everything under the democratic dispensation, while the word Azadi (freedom) resonated at the premises of Town Hall.
The Students' Council of St Joseph's College led a protest rally on Tuesday, March 15 displaying strong disagreement over alleged crushing of democratic spaces in the central universities by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government. The students protested at the premises of the Town Hall placing many demands before the government and marched till Banappa park located at Deepanjali Nagar.
Of late, a quite a popular word 'Azadi' which was vociferously heard from the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been resonated at Town Hall also, with students calling for Azadi from communalism, Dalit oppression, capitalism and others.
The key demands of the students were dropping sedition charges against all the JNU students, release of Ummar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, release of SAR Gilani, dropping cases charged against BVS (Bahujan Vidyarthi Sanghatana) for holding stir seeking job reservations in private sector, right to dissent, and justice to Dalit research scholar, Rohith Vemula.
The Students' Council of the St Joseph's was joined by students of other politically affiliated students orgainsations, namely, All India Students' Federation (AISF), All India Students' Association (AISA), Karnataka Vidyarthi Sanghatane (KVS), Bahujan Vidyarthi Sanghatana (BVS), Students' Islamic Organisation (SIO) and National Students' Union of India (NSUI). However there were members two political youth wings one from the Congress, Youth Congress and another from the Left, Democratic Youth Federation of India.
Police detain four who tried to disrupt the event
During the protest, four persons allegedly belonging to the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) tried to disrupt the event. The four members said "what freedom you are demanding in India when the country is already independent." The four demanded a debate with the protesters and later they were detained by the police.
Government crushing students who question
The protest was also attended by a noted journalist Gauri Lankesh. Addressing the protesters Lankesh said "when Shehla Rashid Shora, Vice President of JNU Students' Union visited Bengaluru, Rashid categorically opined that the Modi government has waged war against students." Gauri asking why the government has been targeting the students, said the contemporary students question everything and the government is unable to tolerate the questioning instinct of the students.
Lankesh cited this as a reason for the government crushing the students' movement across the universities. Gauri pointing out the examples of Gajendra Chauhan being placed as the chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), alleged state abatement of Rohith Vemula's suicide and charging sedition against JNU students, substantiated her argument.
Lankesh also stressed on BJP government's effort to materialise the agenda of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ) linking to the recent controversies. "I was really worried when Modi was elected back in 2014 and now my worries have come true," Lankesh expressed.
For a question on changed thought of the RSS on women entry to certain temples, Lankesh said to OneIndia that saying is one thing and acting on the thought is another thing. Will RSS agree to appoint women Dalit priests in the temples? Lankesh questioned.
The RSS at its Annual Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha sought to distance the organisation from women entering from the sanctum of certain temples, mainly Sabarimala Temple, Kerala and Shani Shingnapur temple, Maharashtra. The RSS in the meeting reportedly said denying women access to sanctum is a wrong mind set.
The St Joseph's Students' Council President Vyshak told OneIndia the government has to allow students' union elections in the campus to strengthen students voice. "All the time we can't get justice under the management of autonomous colleges, Vyshak pointed. The students now are progressive and very broad minded, they will avoid bad political involvement in the campus, Vyshak said on being asked whether students are matured to avoid involvement bad politics by political parties.