Analysis

ABVP is turning universities into ideological battlegrounds

Student politics has been prominent in India since long. Many student organisations like All India Students Federation (AISF) played a role in the freedom movement. Almost every political party has its student wing to nurture youth politically and gain their support.  RSS too formed its student wing, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), after independence.

Left-wing-right-wing politics is prevalent on Indian campuses. Now right-wingers have become more militant than communists. After BJP came to power in 2014, ABVP too became active on university campuses. ABVP’s prime aim now is to propagate the Sangh ideology, branding people with opposite views as anti-nationals. Campus hooliganism increased especially before and during student union elections.

ABVP was involved in the Hindu-Muslim communal riots in 1961 and since then it continues to play the communal card in educational institutions.

Jatin Goraya, former vice president of ABVP in JNU resigned on 26 August this year, terming the organisation as casteist and patriarchal. Goraya is a Dalit. In an exclusive interview with The MG, he said, “ABVP is totally responsible for the eviction and murder of Rohith Vemula.”

He further said, “ABVP JNU unit never released any pamphlet or statement for Rohith Vemula, even when I raised it many times in meetings. Likewise, they never condemned the Una incident by any means.”

The suicide of Vemula resulted in protests across India. The protesters were beaten by ABVP goons in Hyderabad, Jadavpur and Delhi universities.

Asked about the involvement of Muslims in ABVP, Goraya said, “ABVP is intolerant to Muslims but for political gains they accept Muslims. Mostly those Muslim youth join ABVP who are themselves against Islam, who criticise Muslim practices and never follow Islam.”

He added, “I asked them in the meetings to issue a condemnation letter for the Dadri lynching incident but they refused.” This revealed that they are neither social nor egalitarian but a radical and farcical outfit. ABVP uses Muslim candidates for its purpose like Jahidul Dewan, a Modi fan, who was chosen at the last moment as a candidate for elections. Opportunist and ignorant Muslims who don’t know the truth of ABVP fall in its trap.

ABVP holds Manusmriti as sacred. When Goraya along with some other members of ABVP, suggested to burn it to show that they are against casteism, ABVP bosses refused. Speaking on the issue Goraya recalled, “When I burnt it on the JNU campus, ABVP distanced from me, saying what I did was to divert the attention from JNU incident.” He added, “ABVP interferes in personal lives of female candidates.”

Three members holding administrative positions of ABVP JNU unit, Pradeep Narwal, former joint secretary, Ankit Hans, former secretary, and Rahul Yadav, former president, who burnt Manusmriti along with Goraya also resigned. They all were dalits.

Pressing sedition charges against anyone who disagrees with the establishment, or BJP or RSS has become routine for ABVP. From JNU to Amnesty sedition cases, they lodged cases on the basis of dissent. In every case, BJP government acted in ABVP’s favour.

ABVP is also involved in crimes but gets away scot-free. On August 26, 2006, ABVP activists brutally assaulted Prof. HS Sabharwal on the campus at Madhav College, Ujjain, and ran away when he collapsed. Scenes of the murderous assault were shown live on TV channels. Even a BJP corporator had accompanied the accused ABVP activists. After the murder, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited the accused ABVP activist Vimal Tomar in the hospital but never went to console the widow and family of the slain professor. Two main witnesses in the case turned hostile and six ABVP attackers arrested by the police were acquitted on 23 July, 2009 by the Nagpur court due to “lack of evidence”!

Hasan Rizvi

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2016 on page no. 11

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