These days, we are witnessing rampant student protests in India. Movements and protests are happening in Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU], University of Hyderabad [HCU], Jadavpur University [JU], Film and Television Institute of India [FTII] etc.

Police beating up student in University of Hyderabad
(Source: Facebook/ Bilal Veliancode)

 Hundreds of students are part of these movements which gained momentum after the institutional murder of Rohit Vemula. As Shehla Rashid, vice-president, JNU Students’ Union puts it in her speech in a seminar on ‘Nationalism, patriotism and sedition,’ organised by All India Students’ Association (AISA), students are doing the role of opposition in the country to question the policies of the government that did not believe in diversity.

There has been many reasons for the rise of these movements. Some are the systematic destruction of higher education by taking decisions to cut down or discontinue fellowships, appointing higher officials on the basis of party memberships, attacks on students who belong to minority groups, branding of anti nationalism on students who protest for justice, using law like sedition and non-bailable acts to silence students etc.

The democratic space in India is openly getting vandalized through direct attacks on students and others who support students like TISS Research Scholars in Dadar. These days students are preparing to get arrested before starting protests. The complaint filed by Hyderabad university registrar M Sudhakar against students have names of 26 people and bracketed disclaimer that they are “yet to be arrested”. The list ends with an open-ended phrase “and others”. This means that any student in HCU can be arrested by just adding their name under the list. The police is used as a tool to hunt down students and arrest each one. 27 students and 2 teachers  Prof Konda Yesu Ratnams and Tathagata Sengupta of HCU are arrested under Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act by the police. These arrests were deliberately planned as Court is closed for Holi, Good Friday and Sunday holidays. Many students were beaten by police with lathis and abused to go to Pakistan or be dead.

Selective involvement of media is notable in the current scenario. Some TV channels are on the run to manipulate and fudge truth to help the people who must not be named. Active use of social media to spread false news, doctored videos, false quotes is also on the rise. It is becoming harder to find the real truth and a need for parallel is of the greatest importance.

One of the famous students movement was Nav Nirman Andolan in 1974 in Gujarat which led to the dissolution of an elected government of the state. Students were joined by the middle class people and together they successfully showed the power of people to change the government. Students were able to consolidate their protests and mobilize the working class. There is need to replicate the same for current movements and protests and mobilize the people. Only then the fights can go on till the goal is achieved.

Response from a student on the mass struggles for justice.

Government fears that students of the higher education can dismantle and disrupt their evil design of making this nation unicolored. Students body alone can do what it did against Indira Gandhi during 1973-77. Students and teachers are reading into the sinister design of this government, and pose a counter to this government. Or else, they know pretty well that the masses can be herded easily with communalism and religious fervor. This students body is what comes between government and fooling of  masses. - Nilabh Kumar

STOP POLICE BRUTALITY IN HCU#JusticeForRohith#StandWithRohithVemula#UoH #policecrackdown
Posted by University Community on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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