PhD Scholar and student activist Umar Khalid, who is also a part of Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Student Organisation speaks on the ‘status of Universities in India’ and ‘efforts of right-wing parties to privatise them’. Here are some excerpts of his interview, conducted by Siasat Daily’s Syed Ismail Zabiullah, that have been translated by Afreen Pervez.
Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid; these are the names that try to prevent JNU from atrocities. What is the current scenario of the Varsity?
“Since the time, the government has come into power it has an agenda. That entails; changing of characters of Universities and changing of admission policies. The government itself wants to decide who can do higher studies. It also wants to impose their own ideologies on Universities,” says Umar. Adding that it is strategising its moves through appointing members of similar ideology in the top educational and cultural institutes.
The government wants to silence the voices of dissent against its wrongdoings such as in the cases pertaining to Rohith Vemula or Najeeb Ahmed, Umar adds.
“The government wants to privatise the universities with the support of billionaire businessmen so that the higher education remains in the hands of a handful of people,” he says.
You people were booked for raising slogans on February 9, 2016. What do you have to say about it?
“It has been two and a half year since the incident had occurred, neither a charge sheet was filed nor a case was registered against us. Because they know once the case enters into the court, everything will be crystal clear,” Umar explains. “Just like the case of Ayodhya is pending for two decades, this case of sloganeering in JNU would go on,” he adds.
When whole nation was keen to know which slogans were raised on the campus, a budget was passed that no one talked about, Umar says.
What message would you like to give to the youths who want unity of marginalised and believe in democracy?
“My message is same as that of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s, whose last words were ‘Educate, Agitate and Organise’. But these three are being under attack. Education, organisations as well as struggle to do well are all under threat,” says Umar. Adding “there are numerously debatable issues that our country is facing. Every year at least 12,000 farmers commit suicide. But topics like ‘Love Jihad and Ghar Waapsi’ are discussed,” Umar adds.
Watch the full interview here: