AIFRTE statement against ABVP’s assault on university campuses
AIFRTE condemns in strongest terms the violent assault on the academic community by RSS student wing ABVP at Ramjas College (Delhi University) and Jai Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur. What is even more disturbing in both the cases is abject surrender amounting to connivance of the university/college authorities to the rowdy tactics of ABVP as clearly visible in suspension of Dr Rajshree Ranawat by the Jodhpur University administration.
Dr Ranawat, an assistant professor in English department of the university was reportedly the key organizer of a seminar earlier in February in which Prof Nivedita Menon of JNU was invited as a speaker. The ABVP, which has little stomach for independent and critical academic discourse, has since then carried a malicious propaganda against Prof Menon and Dr Ranawat. Unfortunately, the university authorities, instead of defending these academicians, has filed police complaint against Prof Menon and suspended Dr Ranawat and has also reportedly set up a committee to deliberate upon possibility of terminating her. Not only this, the university failed to provide any security to Dr Ranawat who has been threatened by the ABVP hooligans agitating around her residence.
Similarly, in Ramjas College, the ABVP indulged in violence to stall a seminar organized on 21st Feb on the ground that ‘anti-national’ JNU students Omar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were invited as speaker! It also attacked students as well as teachers who protested against this the next day. As expected, instead of stopping and arresting the violent ABVP gang, the Delhi police preferred to play the role of its protector and facilitator while students and faculty were being attacked.
In both the cases, ABVP hooligans have raised the bogey of “nationalism” to thwart academic discourse not by any counter discourse but by violence and force that is characteristic of this gang. In doing so, it is imposing the fascist brahmanical-hindutva agenda of RSS in universities across the country crushing every voice of dissent and criticism. AIFRTE appeals to all democratic sections of the country, especially the student, youth, teachers and non-academic staffs of universities and colleges to take a serious note of this systematic pattern of attacks and resist this with all their united might. The space for critical thought in our universities is already too little and too precarious to let it easily destroyed by RSS gang. The larger battle of democratizing our universities and implementing social justice agenda in the campuses cannot be won at all without fighting the RSS which represents the most reactionary section of the brahmanical forces.
Expressing our solidarity with Dr Ranawat and the academic community of Ramjas College, AIFRTE demands that,
1) Jai Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur administration should immediately revoke suspension of Dr Rajshree Ranawat and withdraw the police complaint against Prof Nivedita Menon.
2) The university should also take stern disciplinary action against ABVP cadre threatening Dr Ranawat.
3) Appropriate action should also be taken against the university authorities who failed to provide security to Dr Ranawat and also initiated a malafide inquiry against her.
4) In case of Ramjas college, strict disciplinary action must be taken against ABVP cadres who indulged in violence.
5) Action should also be taken against concerned senior Delhi Police officials who failed to protect students and teachers from ABVP attacks.
6) Considering the recent history of violent activities by ABVP, a high-level inquiry should be initiated to consider debarring it from university campuses for a definite period of time.
7) The union minster of human resource development and union home minster should ensure that the Constitutional Right of teachers and students to engage in free discourse is protected and stern action is taken against ABVP cadre for its criminal acts. The same applies to Rajasthan state government, especially the state home minister and higher education minister. The concerned ministers should resign in case they are unable to discharge this fundamental constitutional obligation.
- AIFRTE Presidium