August 4, 2016
Slowly but surely, tiny state of Puducherry is becoming the crucible of Dalit activism that is being met by an equal and opposite Sangh parivar response, creating tension in Pondicehrry University.
The bone of contention is a write up on Rohit Vemula, the Hyderabad Central University Dalit student who committed suicide, in a students’ magazine brought out by the Pondicherry University students’ council.
It is for the first time that the University Students’ Council, an elected body, has brought out a magazine – Widerstand – which contains a write up that claims that demise of Vemulla was in fact an institutional murder, stoking the fires of Dalit outrage in this quaint and peaceful tiny state of Puducherry.
The student’s council, captured by Left leaning Students Federation of India in coalition with Dalit Students Association, brought out the magazine for the first time in which it documented the recent unfortunate deaths/suicides of Dalit students across India. But the rallying point for all is Rohit Vemulla and here in Pondicherry University too, it was his name that caught the attention of the BJP first and then its student wing, the ABVP.
The magazine was first burned by BJP on Monday and protests were held outside the university gates. Taking this as cue, the ABVP jumped into fray and launched its own protests, demanding the magazine be withdrawn.
The university on its part “banned” the magazine said Nidhin Nath, member of magazine committee and final year MA student of visual communications, “We had circulated some 3,000 copies of the magazine, when trouble broke out and the college locked up the students council room that had another 4000 copies stored there for distribution,” he said adding “the university however, could not do anything about the online version which is available for anyone to read.”
“There is however no official ban on the magazine by the university authorities,” he said.
On Tuesday, a group of SFI students protesting the “ban” on the magazine were allegedly attacked by students purportedly belonging to the ABVP.
“We have lodged a complaint with the registrar, who has forwarded the complaint to the police,” the magazine committee member said. The police was, however, unwilling to make any comment on the matter till the time of writing this report.