It is not the first time that JNU is witnessing the wrath of the right wing. But on what had happened recently cannot be seen as just another usual incident amongst others. Never in the history of JNU did it see such chaos reigning on the campus.
The backdrop of the whole series of protest that happened in JNU was caused by a sudden surge in hostel and mess fee rates. These highly escalated fees led the students to protest, to which solidarity to the struggle came pouring in from various other universities as well. This hike posed a serious question to the access to education of the underprivileged.
Education is the key factor for the upliftment of the marginalized sections of the society. It is perhaps the most critical means of improving the welfare of disadvantaged populations. But the continuous increase of fees and fund cuts has made quality education possible only to a particular section of the society. This is where JNU came in as a hope for students from socially backward sections. Indeed, the protests going on in JNU mirrors India’s education crisis, conceivably the biggest challenge to its growing economic and political aspirations.
JNU is also one of the strongest voices of dissent in the country, challenging the anti-people policies of the government. It is pretty much evident that the centre will have its eyes on breaking such a resistance to their vested ideological interest, particularly that of the hindutva.
For anybody outside of JNU who wishes to enter the campus, it was routine that the security guard checks their ID cards and directs them to note down their details in the visitor’s register. Now that all these perpetrators in such huge amount got inside the campus, that too with the Delhi Police merely looking at them and not making the slightest move while they were attacking the students and teachers, reveals the fact that the administration alongside the government had a supporting role to play in Sunday night’s event in JNU. To also note along here is the fact that while the attackers were moving out of campus after the incident, the Delhi Police was actually escorting them to move out. The police acting as silent spectators for hours raise serious questions on the intent and conduct of police. All this shows how crouched the dispensation will slouch over to rule people through inciting fear summing up that the BJP is using hatred and brutality to polarise the country.
And above all, what is truly petrifying is that even the ambulances, that came to take the injured students to the hospital, were thrashed and beaten down by these masked mob. Even the doctors and other medical staff, who came in with medical supplies to help the injured students, were not allowed to enter the campus. The Indian Medical Association has now came forward and strongly condemned the attack on doctors and nurses who had rushed to treat the injured at JNU on that night. Even during when the world wars were fought, under no circumstances did anyone stop the ambulance from taking the injured to the hospital. It is only these masked perpetrators who can show so much viciousness towards others, to think that it is all right to attack ambulances too, only because they might save those they had previously attacked.
But as said earlier, the recent incident is not just one among the other usual incidents. There is a conspicuous political game play by the right wing here. It is pretty much evident that the attack happened in JNU lately is to clear out the permanent protest going on at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi against the Citizenship Amendment Act. It was at this point of time that the police got orders to evacuate the protestors from this area. Now that all the Media focus is on JNU, clearing the protestors now became even easier for the Delhi Police. This clearly exhibits how the BJP, acting hand-in-glove with the JNU administration, were able to suppress them from protesting. It is all clear that this uncommon attack is sponsored by the BJP to suppress dissent against the government. The police and the university administration were used as mere political tools of the government. And what an irony it is for the BJP to have actually come up with a statement condemning the violence in JNU? To put it into perspective, it was not violence; it was a well planned and executed attack!
The question of today’s reality is not whether our country will grow on to be a developed nation or not, but will our country be able to protect and sustain itself and its core values of secularism and democracy, at a time when the ruling dispensation is trying as hard as it can to destroy it. Thus it is necessary that our politics in leading a unified fight against these hate mongers also change accordingly to what the on-ground reality demands. In these unusual times, what we must foster to bring upon is a consensus of all the progressive and democratic institutions and put up a combined fight against this neo- fascist regime.
The struggles of the commons must be taken forward. It is these battles, beyond any political lineage, the fight against the inhumane divisive politics of the right wing, which is going to protect our country in its standing. More power to all those people amongst us who are raising their voice in these difficult times.
To end by quoting Bertolt Brecht “Will there be singing in the dark times? Yes, there will be singing, about the dark times!”
Yadul Krishna is a commentator on economy and politics. He is an alumnus of the Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi.