Left Unity is the Need of the Hour!
During the last year, the campus has witnessed an unprecedented assault on our cherished democratic spaces. The ABVP, with the full backing of the state machinery and the BJP-RSS, tried its level best to #ShutDownJNU. Students were charged with sedition, they were sent to jail. Even now, following the 9 February incident, JNU – especially its students and teachers – is facing an organised crackdown. The entire RSS brigade is very clear that they want to Shut Down JNU, a public funded central university where people from deprived backgrounds can dream to come and study. They want to Shut Down the possibility of being JNU, the possibility of breaking barriers of caste, class, region, religion, gender and race. As an article in the RSS mouthpiece put it, JNU’s defence of equality, human rights and dignity, freedom for women and Dalits, JNU’s academic and culture of democracy, is ‘poison’ according to them.
It is not only JNU which is being targeted. The roadmap of the present government to shut down all such possibilities of dissent has become evident from systematic attack on students and universities- from APSC in Madras-IIT, FTII, AU, AMU, BHU, HCU, MANNU to JNU. Students today face rustication, arrests, heavy fines and punishments throughout the country for opposing the administrative policies and the interference of the government. In HCU, the MHRD-RSS’s systematic targeting led to Rohith Vemula’s institutional murder, and the student community there has had to face a massive attack. Moreover, in continuation of policies from the previous UPA regime, fund cuts and massive commercialisation is being instituted – as is evident from the tone and tenor of the draft New Education Policy.
In this battle against #ShutDownJNU, we have unitedly asserted #StandWithJNU. Our fight successfully challenged the ABVP-BJP-RSS gameplan. We rallied people across the country against the communal fascist agenda of the BJP-RSS. Yet, these machinations continue even now. Every single day we battle newer attempts to destroy everything that JNU stood for, every cherished value of democracy, inclusion, debate and dissent. Under the instructions of the party in power, the JNU administration is imposing policies which are an anathema to the spirit of JNU. Now teachers who spoke out against the attack on JNU are being targeted, threatened and victimised. There are constant assaults on JNU’s inclusive policies, on reservations and deprivation points. To ensure complete loyalty to the office of the VC, every possible norm of university functioning is sought to be changed. All spaces are being subjected to intense surveillance, and the JNU administration (aided and abetted by the ABVP) wants a Surveillance Raj. While JNUSU and other organisations are being harassed and not allowed to conduct their programme in peace, while Sangh-affiliated groups are given the space to campaign and University resources. Common students are facing continuous harassment from the administration, whether it is in the matter of hostel allotments, fellowship disbursal or library facilities.
All over the country, the communal-corporate-fascist offensive is at its height – from Dadri to Una Muslims and Dalits being hounded and killed in the name of the cow, and women being told how to dress to be ‘safe’; workers’ and peasants’ hard-won rights being curtailed brutally.
But what is heartening is the waves of resistance against this offensive – witness the movements unleashed by the people of Una and Gujarat, asserting solidarities of Dalits, Muslims and all democratic forces; witness the All India General Strike called by workers on 2nd September. It is this spirit of unity and resistance that we need to sustain and strengthen.
At this juncture, it is the historical task of the university community to defend the spirit of JNU unitedly. We must defend the hard earned democratic space of our university, in the academic, social and cultural spheres, in the classrooms, in the dhabas, in the hostels. As the attack on the very heart and soul of JNU is being intensified through numerous new means, the united spirit of #FightBackJNU must be asserted once again in all fronts, in struggles as well as in JNUSU elections. We have been rejecting the RSS agenda on our campus ONLY through a united struggle of Left and democratic organisations. In the JNUSU elections too, we need this unity. Our differences will remain, BUT the need of the hour is to unite to land a massive defeat to the foot soldiers of fascism in our campus. We cannot allow our differences within the Left to strengthen the ABVP and the administration, which are acting as the agents of the Modi government and the RSS. The heart and soul of JNU must be reclaimed and reasserted. This is the need of the hour, and the genuine desire of the student community. In keeping with this spirit, AISA and SFI have resolved to context the JNUSU 2016-17 elections unitedly, offering a united Left panel.