17 January 2017| 3:00 PM: The ‘Ek Bharat Abhiyan’ conducted by ABVP on 16 January 2017 aimed to draw attention to the ‘suppressed narrative in Kashmir.’ Instead, it created ripples of political debate between the left and the right; not less than five parchas were circulated on this event. The bone of contention was the panel of the seminar consisted of controversial personalities like Charudutt Pingle–whom JNUSU accused of ‘murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar’; Ramesh Shinde of the Hindu Janjanjagruti Samiti–accused of ‘political violence and riot mongering’; Radhakrishnan of Shiv Sena–the political organisation that tops the list of most party MPs facing criminal charges, and Abhay Vartak Sanatan Sanstha, who was arrested in connection with the murder of veteran communist leader Govind Pansare.
The seminar, held in SSS I auditorium, was attended by around a hundred students and teachers from across schools and departments. Also, a hundred left activists had gathered outside the auditorium to hold a symbolic vigil against the participating speakers. The students sloganeered against the participating organisations and the administration that the students called ‘partial’ and a ‘stooge of the BJP government.’ The administration had provided for around 20 male and female security guards to maintain order at the spot.
Pushpika Sapna Bara, SIS Councillor started the protest meeting that was called by DSF and joined by all left and Ambedkarite organisations; AISA, AISF, BAPSA, BASO, Collective, DSU and SFI. Representatives from JNUSU were also present. Pushpika Bara spoke at length about the ‘growing space of fascist forces’ in the campus and the country in general. She said, “The speakers inside are believers of irrationality and the murderers of rationality. At every point of time when these conservative ideas will spring up, we shall raise our voices to the maximum.” Amal P P, Vice-President, JNUSU reminded the students about the ongoing struggle against the ‘oppressive initiatives’ taken by the Vice Chancellor. He appealed to the students to maintain unity at this hour of need.
Repeated chants of ‘Vande Maatram’ and ‘Bharat Maata ki Jai’ from the ongoing seminar drew jeers from the left crowd. Varun from BAPSA called this ‘a reminder of Hitler’s Germany’ and attacked the seminar by calling it a ‘den of Brahminism’ and exhorted the students to destroy it with Ambedkarite ideals of educate, agitate and organise. The protest went on till late sunset and the students dispersed after another of sloganeering.
Anjali Maurya is a BA student at CRS and works for the News Pool of The Informer.