THESE days are terrifying for college and university campuses in Kerala. A series of attacks on SFI activists has taken place across the state in the past one month. The ABVP, with the active support of the RSS and the BJP, has been in the forefront of most of these incidents, posing an open threat to democracy on campuses. A number of SFI leaders braved murder attempts. In the past two weeks, more than 30 SFI activists were attacked by these goons. What is more concerning is the collective silence of the media and a section of civil rights activists on the attacks on democratic rights and human rights of the Left student-activists. From North Malabar to the south of Kerala, colleges and institutions witnessed attacks on SFI workers.
Ten SFI activists were brutally attacked by a group of hooligans supported by ABVP-MSF-NSUI at Pattambi College in Palakkad on March 8. All of them suffered serious injuries. One student has been fighting for his life for several days at an intensive care unit with 21 stitches on his head.
At Swami Nithyananda Polytechnic College in Kanhangad, ABVP goons on March 17 unleashed an attack on women students who were peacefully staging a protest against the saffron outfit. The ABVP activists had written obscene statements about women in the girls’ restroom. They made lewd and obscene comments on the women students who were active in the SFI, in a bid to intimidate women students from entering politics. The women students under the leadership of the SFI protested against these statements and conducted a march. ABVP activists attacked the march and injured and harassed Jasna who was leading the march. She was later admitted to the district hospital, Kasargod. In the last election in the college, the SFI won all the seats and this had made the ABVP violent.
In Thiruvananthapuram Law Academy, the alliance of NSUI-ABVP-MSF is more visible. MSF activist ragged a first-year student and ridiculed her for her choices of clothes. The students of Law Academy say that it has been a habit of the right-wing student organisations to comment on the choices women students make. The SFI protested against the moral policing and ragging by the MSF activist and campaigned against it on the campus. This made the NSUI-ABVP-MSF angry. On March 17, this notorious alliance of communal and right-wing organisations stormed into the classroom of second-year B.Com LLB. The women students inside the classroom were abused and threatened by them. When the women students ran out of the classroom, they locked the classroom and attacked the students with iron rods, chains and sticks. The SFI activists were brutally beaten up inside the classroom by a group of about 40 people. When other students came out in the support of SFI activists, they too were beaten up.
Even school students are being haunted by the saffron brigade. Chala Tamil School in Trivandrum has faced the RSS’ atrocities many times earlier. On March 21, ten SFI activists in the school were brutally attacked and injured by the same force. They entered the school illegally and beat up the students mercilessly to create an atmosphere of fear.
Sree Kerala Varma College too witnessed violence on March 17. The college is in an RSS den. The ward in which the college is situated is controlled by the RSS for a long time. The campus has lost two students in the past who were killed by the RSS. Sree Kerala Varma College was the first educational institution that reacted to the Dadri mob lynching. From then onward the tension between RSS and the student community has been more intense. On March 17, the BJP organised a programme inside the campus with many RSS activists and criminals participating in it. Those who came to the campus in the garb of this programme unleashed violence on the students and SFI activists. The attackers were carrying sticks, stones, iron rods and other weapons in their hands. One SFI activist got stripped half-naked by the RSS criminals and many SFI activists were severely injured.
BJP state secretary B Gopalakrishnan openly asked the ABVP-RSS activists to unleash violence. In a video, he is heard saying – “We will enter the campus and beat them up”. One hour after the attack, the RSS goons went to the College Union Editor’s house and threatened his sister. Most of the comrades were not able to go to their homes due to fear. Their families are threatened and blackmailed. The teachers association condemned the attack.
SFI activist Abdul Rasheed was attacked with glass pieces by a group of MSF activists in Government College, Malappuram. Rasheed, a third-year B.Com student, was attacked when he came to the college to attend an examination. He was hospitalised with a severe wound on his right hand.
Two SFI activists were hacked by NSUI-Youth Congress criminals outside MG University in Kottayam. One of the SFI activists was Sachu Sadanand, the students’ union general secretary of MG University. He was born with an upper limb reduction on his left arm. And the remaining one was attempted to be cut off by the NSUI-Youth Congress goons. He was hospitalised with deep wounds in his right hand. The same group hacked SFI Kottayam district president KM Arun and injured him severely. Both the attacked activists are dalit students. An eight-member team came to the campus and beat up the students with swords and iron rods. Four people in the criminal gang who attacked SFI leaders have been arrested from the home of the prime accused in the case, Jim Alex who is the mandalam president of Youth Congress.
As we see, student organisations such as NSUI of the Congress and the Muslim Students’ Federation of the IUML have also joined in the hunt of SFI activists.