The Indomitable Flag of Independence Democracy and Socialism
Ever since the onset of this government there has been a conscious attempt to destroy public funded universities and shift towards a privatised environment in the academic space. In order to achieve so, the government has resorted to cuts in funding by cuts in budgetary allocation in higher education. This has led to cuts in financial aid to public universities as well as decrease in the number of fellowships, followed by seat-cuts and all in turn concluded into added financial burden on students pursuing higher education.
The SFI has built up movements on the basic issues of education in the campuses throughout the country. SFI organised protest against the pathetic conditions of tribal hostels in many places like Ahmedabad and Beed. After ages, there was a huge mobilisation of students led by SFI at Assam University; SFI effectively participated in protests in Thiruvalluvar University in Tamil Nadu and Telangana on the issue of fee hike.
Thousands of students and youths gathered under the banner of 'DYFI-TYF-SFI-TSU' at Agartala demanding ‘Education for all, Jobs for all'. SFI-DYFI activists along with 12 other left student youth organisations of West Bengal led a march from Singur to Nabanna demanding affordable education and employment for all. Thousands of students and unemployed youth who are suffering under Mamata regime joined hands and participated in huge numbers in the rally. But police without any provocation started lathi charge, fired tear gas shells and used water cannons. More than 500 students including the state secretary of SFI and state secretary of DYFI were brutality beaten up and 22 comrades were taken into jail.
SPRING OF HOPE IN THE CENTRAL UNIVERSITIES
Despite attacks on education and the organised student’s movement at the behest of the central government and its cohorts that includes its student organization-ABVP, the SFI has been able to win some of the important universities in the country.
In South India the SFI led alliance won 10 out of 11 seats in Pondicherry University(PU). SFI led students council (2018) went for a hunger strike against the issues of hike in academic fees and against the VC’s negligence towards the issues in the campus. SFI fought the first phase of the elections alone and won 27 seats out of 70 and became the single largest organisation in the campus. DMK backed APSF and AISF came together to support SFI to resist the unethical alliances. The SFI led Alliance won with Parichay Yadav as the president of the council.
The JNUSU elections 2019 have again given the mandate of struggle to the united left panel. After 13 years, the SFI won the post of the president in JNUSU. The elections were held in the backdrop of increasing attacks on the character of the university just as there is increasing assault on the democracy and constitutional values of the country. The JNU administration since 2016 has religiously carried out the agenda of its puppet masters in the RSS-BJP and found new ways of assaults on the idea of a liberal, inclusive, vibrant and affordable campus that JNU is.
In the past year the attack shifted from destroying other institutions like GSCASH(Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harrassment), bringing in draconian attendance rules and cutting seats of research programmes to direct attack on the institution of JNUSU- the elected voice of struggle against administrative fiat.
However these tactics did not sustain and the students community once again reposed faith in the progressive values that have been cherished since long. However the ABVP tried to intimidate the SFI activists and eveneven attached the SFI-JNU unit vice president, Venkatesh at the presidential debate. Students rebuffed these tactics and gave them a befitting reply.
This year's HCUSU(Hyderabad Central University Students Union) elections gave a huge mandate to SFI. The SFI had approached the election with a clear agenda of opposing the communal and other forces which are bent to privatise the universities and higher education. There was a sharp ideological struggle unleashed by the SFI. Abhishek Nandan of SFI won the post of president with a huge margin. SFI member Sohel Ahamed was elected as sports secretary.
JNUSU Election Results - Central Panel
VICTORY AS WELL AS RESISTANCE
The Sikar struggle of the students was able to shake the administration of the state of Rajasthan. This struggle which started on response to a brutal lathi charge on the girl students in Sikar Girls College became a people’s struggle for pride and dignity of the girls. The struggle was then led by the CPI(M) and forced the administration to accept the demands of the people. The district magistrate and the police chief of the region were transferred and the principal of the girls college who is a known sangh activist was placed as APO(against vacant post).
In Rajasthan students union elections in the colleges, the SFI contested in 55 colleges and three university campuses. SFI has won 21 president, 41 vice-president, 19 secretary and 37 joint secretary posts in different colleges of the state.
There were continuous attacks of ABVP in Delhi. ABVP did not allow the SFI to file the nomination papers and tore them; they also beat the SFI activists in Delhi University for pasting posters. In the attack Sumit and Himashu (SFI activists) were badly injured and their arms got fractured. However they could not stop the SFI from winning students elections in Ambedkar University Delhi. SFI won 21 out of 32 seats in the students' union elections in Kashmere Gate campus.
SFI won almost all colleges under Kerala University and got victory in all government engineering and poly-technique colleges.
TRAVELLING THE UNTRODDEN PATH
After a gap of two years, SFI in Panjab University, Chandigarh contested in the central panel. The SFI had to face dual attacks of muscle-money and ultranationalist-separatist discourse. The SFI contested the post of vice president and got 1,500 votes. Udbhawna Abeer was elected as the departmental representative from English department. SFI also gave a brave fight in Uttarakhand and Gujarat central universities.