Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS’s student wing, is set to hold a nationwide campaign between March 26 and April 10 to explain the “real facts” behind the controversy in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and its PhD scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
As part of the exercise, an office-bearer said, ABVP workers will hold meetings and interact with students in universities and colleges across the country to counter the growing allegations that students from the right-wing group are responsible for these incidents and that the ABVP is increasingly interfering in functioning of educational institutions.
According to sources in ABVP, the decision to hold the campaign was taken at a national workshop of the organisation’s office-bearers, held in Bhopal on March 17.
Dharampal Singh, ABVP’s UP-Uttarakhand regional organisation secretary, said, “Literature about the facts behind these incidents (in HCU and JNU) will be distributed during interaction with the students.” He said copies of Vemula’s suicide note will also be distributed to make it clear that he had not held either the ABVP or any government agency responsible for his death.
Vemula, who came from a Dalit family, committed suicide on January 17, months after he was suspended from the HCU and expelled from the campus after allegedly getting into a scrap with with ABVP leaders
Without naming the JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who is out on bail after being arrested on sedition charges, Dharampal said the ABVP will tell students that action was taken by the government against certain persons because of their alleged anti-national acts, not because of any pressure from the ABVP. He said the ABVP will make an appeal to the students to ensure that such incidents do nor recur.
Kanhaiya Kumar has denied raising any anti-national slogan. ABVP leader and Allahabad University Student Union (AUSU) vice-president Vikrant Singh said, “We will tell students that the Vemula case was given a ‘caste’ colour and facts of the incident were presented in public in manipulated form to make that incident an issue against the Centre. We will also assure students that the ABVP does not interfere in administrative affairs of institutions.”
He also said youths need to be “alerted” about political parties that are allegedly “supporting and strengthening anti-national forces who observe ‘Shahadat Diwas’ for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on campuses.
“We will also distribute pamphlets in which students will be asked whether they will accept anti-national slogans on campuses or prefer a nationalist atmosphere,” Singh said. He said that ABVP will give the example of a programme of BJP MP Yogi Adityanath which was cancelled in Allahabad University because the students union president, Richa Singh, had opposed his visit. “Youths should be told that people who allege that intolerance has increased under Narendra Modi have themselves become intolerant against the government,” Singh said.