As the country is set to celebrate the 67th republic day, what could be more reflecting than what is going on especially in the young minds of India. Today, ‘Chalo HCU’ campaign, at University of Hyderabad, marked itself as a milestone protest towards the attainment of social justice and equality in the country. Hundreds and thousands of people joined hands together from all walks of life. Students, workers, activists, and other progressive and democratic sections of the society across the country came to join the protest.
We were all ready and yet little nervous as some members of JAC ( Joint Action Committee) expressed that in a mob any unwanted element can cause mayhem. We hoped and prayed for a peaceful protest. The media was ready, the help desk was set with the supporting documents and shops were closed to make sure things go smoother. We were expecting about five thousand people but about three thousand people turned up in different groups and times. Later we were learned that the police had barricaded at three junctions in the city to hinder the campaign. They blocked the way at Gachibowli, Chanda Nagar and kondapur. It was a clear sign that they wanted to keep the protesters away from joining the campaign. This led to a one-hour delay in the program which was originally scheduled to start at 10 am in the morning.
People from different parts of the country and educational institutions came in solidarity with the Rohithvemula’s suicide. Students from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, IIT Mumbai, IIT Madras and Calicut University showcased a great enthusiasm. They all had one voice in common and that was ‘justice’. They came with different placards, posters, slogans and even language. Several eminent personalities from different background came for the protest among them PrakashAmbedkar (the grandson of B R Ambedkar), P. Sainath( An activist and senior Journalist), Kanchallaiah (Writer for Dalit rights) were present. They all empowered the students and congratulated them for the great.The students who were suspended are still protesting in ‘velli-vada’ for the 22nd day today.
Some of them were taken to the hospital day before yesterday because their health condition worsened. Some of them were forcefully fed and taken to the hospitals. The zeal did not die with the breaking of the hunger strike. Seven other students from different departments went on hunger strike from yesterday.
The VC has gone on an indefinite leave appointing B.P Srivastava as in-charge VC. What added more to the awe is that the new in charge VC is yet another alleged institutional murderer of Senthil Kumar, a Dalit research scholar in the Department of Physics. I remember AsaduddinOwaisi (Member of parliament) recent visited to the campus to show solidarity. He addressed the students saying MHRD and the university administration are selectively appointing and promoting professors and administrators to higher positions to make all the university and educational places a Brahmanical one. His statement does leave us pondering.
I am still not sure if RohithVemula will get Justice but his suicide was a wake up call for many people not just in India but worldwide. Students from across the world are protesting and coming up for this cause. JAC for social justice is relentlessly against the administration in a democratic way. Meanwhile, the students are being affected in large numbers because of this movement. Their academics are being affected and are facing a crisis due to the continuous protest.
Classes are suspended and students have either gone to their native places or staying in their hostel rooms and supporting the protest. As notified, current semester is already short and will end on March 31st because of water crisis in the campus. Most of the students irrespective of what political parties they belong to are moved by the Rohith’s suicide. They are continuously supporting and taking part in the protest. We hope that classes will resume when the justice is served to RohithVemula’s soul and other four students. We believe in him, Baba Sahib Ambedkar said “I feel that the constitution is workable, it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.” Let us be true Indians this Republic day to hold the country together. Jai Hind!