February 13, 2017 12:02:24 pm
It’s been one year since your arrest. Many think you’ve become a celebrity, how do you react to that?
Well, the government first makes someone a criminal and then makes them a celebrity. First they threw me in jail and then posted a police guard with me constantly for security. The perception of me outside and the reality I face is very different. They say I’m flying by air, but they don’t know that it’s paid for by organizers of events and if they don’t send a cab, I probably wouldn’t have money to take one myself. I’m sustaining through the goodwill of friends and comrades. There’s damage at the personal level as well. I can’t see films, or eat out. Haider is the last film I saw in the hall.
What about the case?
People have forgotten about the case. Nobody cares that the charge sheet has still not been filed. How could be people be arrested? How did those who got arrested get permanent bail for a non-baillable offence? Either say that nothing had happened (on Feb 9) or say that it happened and we’re filing a chargesheet against the culprits. But there’s no noise, because it was a conspiracy.
Why would the government target a student union leader?
Student unions are modern trade unions… they are realizing that they will soon be unemployed. The threat of becoming a worker is making them express their political ideas, and their biggest strength is the concentration of their numbers – no university has less than 10,000 and if they raise an issue, it’ll become big. This is what makes students and university the government’s target.
In October last year, Najeeb Ahmad went missing from your university. How do you see that episode?
Najeeb’s disappearance in broad day light is a more serious matter than our arrest. At least in our case, everyone knew where we were. My mother knew I was in jail, she could have come to me and met me. Where will Najeeb’s mother go to find him? Nothing is being said, our intelligence agencies don’t have any idea. This is a message that now you won’t be picked up by police, you’ll be made to disappear.
Nationally, how do you think Left can become more relevant?
There are many with the middle class who are upset or angry with Modi. All these people need to be brought on the same platform and that can be done only if we correctly analyse the strength of the Right-wing. The subaltern expression of the middle class which was born out of affirmative actions taken by others needs to be tapped. Modi does this. Rahul Gandhi went to withdraw Rs 4,000 in a car worth Rs 4 crore and became a joke, but Modi sent his mother. Left and liberals must leave the normative and become pragmatic to get everyone on the same platform.
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