Actually this is with respect to the ugly turn of events post 14/7 (14th July; this is dominant style of writing these days) when a quarrel got picked up in the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) campus, Summer hill. The quarrel took place in front of a heavy police contingent and soon morphosised into an incident of stone pelting in which students of both the organizations i.e. the SFI and the ABVP got injured with simple injuries as the medico legal term denotes. But quite shockingly, the district administration comprising of the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police, who apparently are less of administrators and more of political functionaries of BJP reached the campus and even before the registration of the FIR (No.115/09) at 8.15 p.m held a press conference 45 minutes in advance i.e 7.30 pm and stated that we have booked the students owing allegiance to SFI under section 307 (attempt to murder)along with various others. Even a beginner or a novice in the studies of law would ridicule such a statement that prior to the registration of the FIR and without any medical opinion such a grave section cannot be applied.
Whats the major issue?
Converting institution of higher learning into RSS playgrounds and workshops is not new to the functioning of the BJP government anywhere in the country. But if there is a hurdle or an impediment to that, then all sorts of tactics would be adopted to exterminate such a hurdle . The biggest hurdle to the recruitment of RSS and former cadres to the more than 230 vacant posts in the university is the Anil Wilson formula that lay emphasis on merit and less on the interview which at times becomes a farce. This formula is under the name of former vice chancellor of the HPU who died recently and to which the then elected students union (of course led by SFI) had given its assent. It needs to be recorded that when BJP assumed power in the state and forced Prof Wilson to change the pattern of recruitment to which he refused to be cowed down, he was forced to quit his post as vice chancellor or face the Vigilance enquiry(in HP these days this is the best instrument of coercion ).
After that there was a strong agitation by the present elected students union called the SCA (Students Central Association) against the dilution of provisions of the aforesaid formula.
Why SFI is the target?
Now this elected union and the backing provided by the SFI is a staunch pillar that stands in the university to defend the autonomy , against the attacks on education and so on. Besides, it is a true fact that the profile, maturity or ebb of the democratic movement in the state is quite low. The movement of peasants, workers or for that matter any other section of the society is confined to certain pockets and areas. The only movement that has a statewide character is that of students which does not remain confined to jus t demands of the students but also lents is voice for various other struggles of the people of the state. The state also keeps a vigil to that and hence the SFI becomes the severest of its target. The best and easy method is to initiate criminal proceedings against them. Not a single leader of SFI remains without a criminal case against him/her. At times more than 2 dozen cases also becomes the mark. The present president of the SCA who is the first elected woman president also has half a dozen criminal cases to her credit. No surprise 4 batches of leaders of SFI have been targeted with charges of murder by successive government and the spree continues unabated. Though, in all the cases they have been acquitted. And now after the implementation of the Lyngdoh committee recommendations any case with any quantum of gravity of the offence; such a victim is barred from contesting the elections. Hence purposely now such names who were either at their home or were in their laboratories or libraries and despite this that their names were not in the FIR are being targeted so that a case can be registered against them and can be debarred from contesting. Despite such tactics the SFI has been winning the elections of HPU incessantly for the last 3 decades.
Coming back to the incident
After a strong resistance, to the dilution of the Wilson formula. A meeting of ABVP was held in the HPU campus that was attended by the incumbent BJP chief minister and the vice chancellor. They called upon them to see that this time the university elections are won by any or all means by the ABVP. The VC even asked the teaching and the non teaching community to support ABVP. Further they called upon them to see that the Wilson formula is easily scraped and this can happen only by demolishing the organized student’s movement led by SFI. This was the immediate provocation or abetment provided by both the state and the university authorities to go ahead with the scuffle as this would provide an opportunity for them to move ahead with their sinful designs.
How glaring are the anomalies?
Though already stated, despite the fact that similar kind of injuries and offence was allegedly committed by both the students’ organization, still they have been booked under different sections. It is not a surprise that the then police officer in 2008; the SHO Boileauganj who had recovered huge cache of arms like swords etc from the rooms that were occupied by the ABVP leaders was rewarded with suspension by the present SP. And till date he remains so. Hence nothing impartial could have been expected from the administration especially the SP Shimla. But all the marks were crossed when he, just to appease the BJP even defied the courts orders. One of the SFI leaders who also happen to be the elected joint secretary of the university was allowed to appear for his Phd. Entrance exam in Punjab University Chandigarh. He is also a NET(National Eligibility Test) qualifier in Microbiology . Since he is in judicial custody being one of the accused in the case he was to be taken under the police custody for the examination on 19th July, 2009. But owing to his affiliation the SP did not send the police guard for the job and it was only at the initiative of some of the former leaders of SFI that the escort was granted that too more than 3 hours late. (Time distance from Shimla to Chandigarh by bus is 4 hours.) . The exam was scheduled at 9.30 am but he was departed at 7.30 am and caught the bus at 8 .00 a.m. because of which he reached late and could not take the exam.
The students have decided to make this an important issue and expose the government.
I remember recently watching a film called ‘New York’ . Though the name appears quite deceptive, the movie is of a different kind where the attack on the voice of a section of the people and the vociferous repulsion comes to the fore. To me the incident happening in the university is equally gory. Hence I feel this is the bounden duty of the sections of the democratic movement of the state to come forward to save education, university and the rightful right to voice of dissent.
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