By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-01-06 20:12:14
Last week, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the "tukde tukde" gang in Delhi needed to be taught a lesson. On Sunday, 200 masked men, wielding lathis and rods, entered Jawaharlal Nehru University in the capital and beat up students and faculty members and damaged property. Who will now believe that there is no connection between the two?
As images flashed on national television of masked goons entering hostels, chasing students and hitting them with rods and not sparing aged faculty members who tried to stop them, damaging property while the police posted on the campus did nothing to stop them, one was filled with revulsion. The way Aishe Ghosh, the president of the JNUSU was beaten up is a matter of grave concern.
Although the present matter was not related to CAA or NRC as the goons had supposedly attacked the students as they were preventing classes and registration for semesters due to a fee hike, the idea behind spreading terror and indulging in violence was obviously to "teach a lesson" to Leftists unions. JNU has always been a sore point with the ABVP as it has never managed to get a toehold there.
But India is not a mobocracy. India is a democracy with the rule of law and every political party has its students' union in almost all colleges. But ever since the NDA has come to power at the Centre, the ABVP thinks it has the first right to form the committee at each and every college. They want to do this by hook or crook and inciting violence on campuses that are traditionally dominated by the Left unions is one of the ways.
But this cannot be tolerated. All right-thinking people must strongly condemn such violence against students or any other class or community of people. A democracy survives only when a thousand ideas bloom. By trying to suppress dissent with violence, the ABVP, and by extension the BJP, is displaying intolerance of the worst kind. One does not support anti-India slogans and appropriate action must be taken against those who raise them but peaceful protests against fee hike or the CAA and NCR or any other government policy is the democratic right of every citizen, including students. Such violence against students will take the BJP further away from the people.
Although the government has moved fast to control the damage, the incident has severally damaged its already tottering reputation. Even if there is actually such a thing as a "tukde tukde" gang (for it just Amit Shah's slur for Left-leaning students and one meeting where anti-India slogans were raised, maybe by outsiders, cannot make them traitors), it cannot be taught a lesson this way. The least the government can do is to identify the perpetrators fast and punish them as per law. But more than that, it has to keep the ABVP on a leash as that organization is the fountainhead of all such violence.