– Article contributed by Swati (SFC, IIT BHU)
In the series of attacks on democratic spaces and voices, as a part of the broader agenda of saffronization of educational institutes, the IIT-BHU administration recently came up with a notice dated 10.10.2018 regarding imposing a ban on organising as well as participation of students and teachers in a procession or meeting without the permission of “appropriate authority“. The notice also mentions that “in case of default or disobedience, stern disciplinary action may be taken against the concerned”.
The notice clearly reflects the complete dictatorship of the biased administrative authorities and their comprador character.
In the past few years, the students of IIT-BHU started raising questions on anti-student policies by administration as well as anti -people policies by government. The students in the campus had struggled constantly against fee hikes, curfew timings for girls, lack of facilities, existing caste discrimination in the campus and also had expressed dissent over anti people policies by fascist regime of BJP-RSS nexus.
Since the students had started taking part in the broader struggles present in the society by forming organisations and organising demonstrations signifying unity with the working and exploited masses, the authorities have became very anxious about students getting politicised and participating in revolutionary struggle as done by Bhagat Singh when he was a student.
The notice states that students and teachers are prohibited from using derogatory slogans and to do propaganda as according to this notice it disrupts harmonious relationship among various members of the institution.
In the past IIT-BHU students have witnessed the administration calling some so called ‘Swamis’ and ‘Babas’ officially as the part of institute lecture series as the propaganda and also organising various such programmes under the banners of Vivekananda and they does not find it derogatory even if students do.
While, at the same time, for screening a movie on Bhagat Singh by the student organisation SFC, the authorities does not give permission, and even if they do they ask for names of everyone attending the movie even before screening. In the same series, a recent demonstration was organised by Students For Change (SFC) in solidarity with farmers regarding implementation of Swaminathan commission reports, was interfered by administration under shadows of official permission. Upon giving them reference to constitution about fundamental rights of speech, they shamelessly argued that these rules do not apply here.
This puts the administration in a sphere of question regarding the ambiguity of words like “derogatory slogans“, “harmony” and “improper ways” and clearly represents the boot licking nature of administration towards the present government.
IIT-BHU is no island and this notice is not in isolation with number of increasing attacks on student movements and their suppression by using UAPA and various other draconian laws as a means for dictatorship. Numerous events like UGC’s recent notification regarding consideration of criticising government as violation of service rule, attack on Manipur university students, attack by goons in punjabi university or say imposing UAPA on a student Valarmathi for standing with people’s struggles can be seen in the same series of fascist onslaughts.
Holding peaceful demonstrations and protests is a right of the citizens of our country being given by the constitution. Such fundamental rights are guaranteed under article 19(1)(a): right to freedom of speech and expression and article19(1)(b): right to assemble peacefully. Denial of these rights will only generate an organised culture of silence over things that concern society and us as humans and will intensify the exploitation of people by making them slaves to their masters.
The students have submitted a petition to immediately roll back this repressive notice and are continuing their fight against dictatorship. The students are also prepared further to intensify the struggle for a better society irrespective of such notices.