We will not back down
We will stand up against this
We will protest
We will open the blacklists
Yes, we have the right
The right to ask
The freedom of speech
Which our constitution provides us with.
‘The fundamental principle of Freedom of Speech being alienated and suppressed by the ‘Gundas’ of ABVP.’
The recent events at Jawahar Lal Nehru University and then consequently at Ramjas College, Delhi University clearly show how our fundamental right of speech and expression is under threat.
The source of the fire that broke out on 21st and 22nd of February 2017, can be traced back to the events in Ramjas College, University of Delhi, where the English Department had organised a two-day seminar on ‘Cultures of Protest,’ being a part of the annual cultural festival, inviting Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid Shora. It saw clashes between RSS-backed ABVP and Left-affiliated AISA over the cancellation of the seminar calling it as “anti-national”. The ABVP people had locked the seminar rooms and pelted stones in protest against inviting the so-called “anti-national” person. To answer this menace, AISA, which was agitated by the college’s decision to “bow down” to this ” threat to freedom of speech” had decided to hold up a march to Maurice Nagar Police Station demanding strict action against ABVP members for their professed vandalism. Horrifyingly, the students and teachers were locked inside and the Ines who tried to come out were beaten by the ABVP ‘gundas’.
Interestingly, disrupting seminars and attacking speakers or organisers or even students is seen as becoming a new trend in Delhi university, called as ‘culture of protest’.
In the midst of all the marches and fights, police were deployed to control the situation but scuffles didn’t stop. People were threatened, traumatised and manhandled by the ABVP guys.
And thus, all this then comes across as the ‘Breach to the freedom of expression’.
Well, this isn’t one of a kind case. Over the past one year, the increasing destruction and ‘gundagardi’ in the universities has not only questioned the freedom of speech, expression and democracy, but also of the unnecessary yet haunting terror that has crept into learning spaces.
People are seen saying, “I don’t feel safe in the campus, anymore.”
We need to stand up. Stand against the ABVP hooliganism. History gives us facts showing no such regiment has thrived for long, and this one too will move away if fought with force and ferocity.
It is a matter of shame that the government does not take any serious action to curb such atrocious acts and also that such prestigious educational institutions have been reduced to a forum of vandalism.
No matter how much the freedom of speech and expression of students is curbed, no matter how many times they are beaten up, how many times they are threatened, no one can curb or extinguish the fire that lies within the soul of the young generation.
The fact that even after ABVP’s first attempt to crush or lower down their voice, students returned again with a massive protest and how students from different universities including that of JNU, Ambedkar university, Ashoka university, etc joined them proving that their wild desire for struggle and resistance will remain forever unrestrained.
The Dialogues and paths on which our nation was formed, have been driven away by a storm of stone pelting, and ‘upar ka orders’ to the police who stand and watch teachers, students and journalists getting beaten up by some bhakts who got ‘carried away’. These so-called protectors of the nation will bend down to any extent to prove their Hanuman loyalty and furthermore expects not to question them or their work and just blindly follow their chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and also saying ‘agar DU me rehna hai toh, Vande matram bolna padega’.
We are sorry, but you can’t tell us what are we supposed to say and not. You can’t force us to anything. We have the fundamental right of speech.
So the point here is that we should not get shaken by these symptoms of violence, let there be a clash of ideas. Let there be clash and differences about opinions, let there be the freedom to present views, without being threatened to be beaten or raped.
According to me, the only way to celebrate a nation is to let all ideas, all opinions, however contradictory they may be, flow and stroke our imagination, be given us the right.
Furthermore, Gurmehar Kaur, a student of Lady Sri Ram College and daughter of an Army martyr had expressed herself, supporting the freedom of speech by standing against ABVP and encouraging people to start protesting. In spite of rape threats, she continued to say ‘ I am not afraid of ABVP’.
To add to the list, a street play has had once already been allegedly stopped by the ABVP members of the SGTB Khalsa College, taking away the freedom of expression.
Also, on the list, is the chaos created by ABVP at Jadavpur University (JU), as there too they stopped the screening of two films. Going on, ABVP’s protest against the presence of JNU professor Nivedita Menon at a conference in Jodhpur University is also one such instance. Be it Jodhpur University or Delhi University or for that matter even JNU, every little matter is politicised and captures more limelight than any other institutions of the country.
Let there be noise, the noise of words, the noise of protests, the noise of struggle.