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Why Students’ Unions talk in the language of violence?

Since ages, there are conflicts between activists of the All India Students Association (AISA) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). However, after the death of Hyderabad University research student Rohit Vemula and the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar, the clashes between two groups are frequent. Kanhaiya was accused for raising anti-national slogans at an event on JNU campus last year, a charge he has denied but he was granted bail. Since then, there has been a rise in Kanhaiya and his group’s popularity. They are considered to be rational speakers. ABVP follows right wing ideology and boasts everything in the name of jingoism. JNU student Umar Khalid was also arrested with Kanhaiya on sedition charge in 2016. The clash of ideologies between two students’ groups last year now seems to have spilled over to the Delhi University north campus.

The tussle between the ABVP and Left-leaning students’ leaders is not new. The Right-wing student organisation obviously doesn’t hold much support or numbers in JNU and in its students’ union. In the past year, there have been other incidents as well where both groups have clashed. The only difference this time is that the incident moved out of the JNU campus. But, the principal’s statement shows that there is still an element of fear/prejudice against some students from JNU or belonging to a certain ideology and it is seen as convenience to clamp down rather than letting free discourse take its way. Same incidents are been witnessed in JNU where its famed culture of protest on a myriad number of issues is being curbed by the JNU administration.

Clashes broke out between Left students and those from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad after invitation to JNU scholar Umar Khalid and Left student leader from JNU Shehla Rashid Shora for a seminar at Ramjas College was cancelled. Policemen were unable to control the rowdy crowds and spectators and journalists were also among the people caught in the clash and many were beaten up. At least, 20 students were reportedly injured after the clash. ABVP is the largest students’ union in the world with over 35 million activists all over world. However, even AISA is the most genuine, ideological, and active student organisation. Umar Khalid came under spotlight when he was accused for sedition last year after the February 9 incident in the university. Umar, who calls himself an Ambedkarite and is part of Ambedkarite student group BASO, was a speaker along with Shehla who is part of Leftist student group All India Students Association (AISA). RSS and BJP backed ABVP protested and subsequently their lectures were cancelled.

Members of AISA said that ABVP members pelted stones at them and shut the seminar hall. They further claimed that ABVP students cut power supply. ABVP has denied all allegations levelled on its members. Shehla told reporters that they were attacked and ABVP members pelted bricks at them. She said many were bleeding due to injuries. ABVP leader Abhishek Verma claimed that there was no violence and the college students and teachers didn’t want Umar Khalid to speak.

Today, we need youth leaders but first we should fill up the gap between illiterate, poor, molested Indian society and literate, rich, reputed and aware society. If we closely observe, there is no difference between AISA, ABVP or NSUI. All parties are same and no one wants to develop nation, they are only opportunists, corrupt and non-worthy. Each group speaks for one or the other community and attack the others. AISA always train guns against Brahmins and upper-class community, baking bread on Dalits and their sour saga. On the other hand, there is one more group in as AISA, they are in favour of separate Kashmir and Muslims of India. They are allergic to right wing organisations and its ideology. Meanwhile ABVP is self-declared Nationalist affiliated to the RSS. Various branches of the ABVP have been involved in Hindu-Muslim communal riots since 1961. However, in the 1970s, the ABVP also increasingly took on issues concerning the lower middle classes like corruption and government inertia that were also being taken on by communist student groups. The outfit played a leading role in the agitational politics of the 1970s during the JP movement. This led to collaboration among student activists in Gujarat and Bihar. The ABVP gained significantly from such efforts after the Emergency and experienced a growth in membership.

By 1974, the ABVP had 160,000 members across 790 campuses and had gained control over several prominent universities, including University of Delhi via student elections. By 1983, the organization had 250,000 members and 1,100 branches. ABVP grew during the 1990s, receiving more support as a result of the Babri Masjid demolition and the economic liberalisation pursued by the P. V. Narasimha Rao government. It continued to grow after the United Progressive Alliance came to power in 2004, trebling in membership to 3.175 million members as of 2016. It claims to be India’s largest student organisation.

AISA was formed with the need of a platform for the revolutionary and democratic students movement. It was founded on Kranti Divas on 9 August 1990 at Allahabad. It has emerged as a popular left students’ organization struggling against the anti-student, anti-people policies. It consisted of the state units of erstwhile All Bihar Students Association, All Bengal Students Association, Progressive Students Organization (PSO) in Allahabad University. Since its inception in 1990, AISA has gained success in mobilizing students across different universities in North India, notably, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Allahabad University, Kumaun University.

From the outset, it has defeated the mainstream student union parties in its bastions at JNU, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Allahabad University and Kumaun University. In the years that followed, AISA has been at the forefront of all struggles for student rights as well as larger democratic issues.

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Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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