Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Implement the Recommendations of the GSCASH in Full! Guard against Attempts to Perpetuate Misogyny and to Undermine the Fight for Gender Justice!

SFI stands by the recommendations and decisions of the GSCASH with regard to the case of sexual harassment in which a faculty member has been found guilty by the GSCASH. The Vice Chancellor has suspended the faculty member on the basis of the GSCASH’s report. SFI demands that the recommendations of the GSCASH be implemented in full and without delay. The Students Union will have to remain vigilant in ensuring this.

The post-Lyngdoh situation of the lack of elections to the JNUSU and to the post of student representatives to the GSCASH had adversely affected the effectiveness of the GSCASH in disposing of cases in the recent years. The restoration of the strength of the GSCASH by, among others, expediting the disposal of pending cases, is of prime importance today. And yet, deplorably, posters in defence of the faculty member and which slyly disparages the GSCASH enquiry have been put up at several locations. Such unacceptable moves which seek to discredit and undermine the GSCASH and its mandate would only weaken the fight for gender justice and will have to be guarded against.

The “JNU Confessions” page on Facebook has become a refuge for misogynistic, sexist and derogatory posts and comments. Many of these posts reveal the identity of various students by pointing to physical attributes, the hostels they stay in, the courses they pursue etc., which exposes them to voyeurism, targeting and ridicule. Particularly notorious has been the “confession” of rape in a post on 2 April which seeks to trivialise the crime. The anonymity the page gives to the posts’ authors effectively shields the perpetrators of sexual violence and perpetuates rape culture. The GSCASH has suitably initiated legal proceedings against the JNU Confessions page by filing an FIR at the Mandir Marg Cyber Crime Branch, New Delhi.

Given the recent developments, the GSCASH has proposed a charter of rights for research scholars and students vis-à-vis the faculty, and has called for an Open House at 10 am on Monday, 15 April 2013 to discuss the proposed charter of rights and the actions to be taken against the “JNU Confessions” Facebook page. SFI appeals to the student community to join the Open House, to be held at SSS-I Committee Room.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Down with the Terror Unleashed by the TMC in Bengal against Democracy and Democratic Institutions! Expose the Lies Peddled by Mamata and Her Minions! Condemn the Attack on Comrade Minati Ghosh!!

It has been more than a week since the cold-blooded murder of SFI leader Sudipto Gupta in Kolkata. Com. Sudipto was killed by Mamata Banerjee’s police while protesting for the restoration of democratic rights of the student community and for the holding of students’ union elections. Instead of ordering a judicial enquiry to bring out the full facts of the case so that the criminals behind this horrific crime can be punished, Mamata and her ministers have termed Com. Sudipto’s heinous murder a “petty and small” incident. Even as the police came up with the most bizarre explanations terming Com. Sudipto’s death an ‘accident’, the post-mortem report has nailed such lies, as it clearly indicates that Sudipto succumbed to multiple injuries sustained on his body, due to the heavy impact on the heart, lung and brain.

It was in this context that a joint protest by SFI and other progressive organisations like AIDWA, DYFI and CITU was held outside the Planning Commission on 9 April, when Mamata Banerjee was scheduled to have a meeting with Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The protest was an expression of the outrage reverberating across the democratic sections against the reign of terror unleashed by the authoritarian TMC Government in West Bengal. The protests were a strong message to the TMC government that this brazen assault on democracy will not be taken lying down and that the tide of protests will grow bigger by the day.

True to her Goebbelsian record, Mamata Banerjee has started peddling outrageous lies about the protests by concocting cock and bull stories. She has taken recourse to wild allegations that the protesters beat her up and even hit her with an iron rod. Only a paranoid authoritarian ruler – that Mamata has consistently been – can come up with such a downright bogus account. What the fabrication of the corporate media and the Trinamool Congress fails to mention is that from the moment the protests started, women comrades were cornered and targeted by the Delhi police. Uncouth and lewd comments were being passed constantly. Moreover, the protesters were assembled in front of the main gate, while Mamata and the West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra were supposed to use the VIP gate. As Wednesday’s statement by the Delhi Police shows, they were indeed asked by the police to use the VIP gate, but these leaders, who callously brushed off the gruesome murder of Com. Sudipto as insignificant, deliberately chose to confront the angry protesters by walking into their midst. The defenders of the TMC regime has been deviously peddling a ridiculous exaggeration of the response of the women comrades to this premeditated confrontation by the leaders of a regime which has killed 93 Left activists after coming into power, without sparing even a word for the highhanded harassment and humiliation which our comrades were constantly subjected to.

The Trinamool Congress meanwhile has gone on a violent rampage against the Left and democratic forces in West Bengal. CPI(M) and SFI offices have been targeted in Habra, the CPI(M)'s district office in Siliguri has been vandalised, and a condolence meeting in Barrackpore for Sudipto Gupta was disrupted by TMC goons. Com. Abdur Rezzak Mollah, a veteran CPI(M) leader has been attacked with petrol bombs. Most deplorably, TMC goons attacked the office of the Ganatantrik Mahila Samity (the Bengal Wing of AIDWA) in South Dinajpur, dragged onto the streets its State Secretary, the senior communist and former parliamentarian Minati Ghosh and physically assaulted and verbally abused her. She has been hospitalised with serious injuries.

Outrageously, Trinamool goons who have no connection with the Presidency University barged into the campus of this premiere institution of higher learning, roughing up students and vandalising parts of the building. The century-old Baker Laboratory of the Physics Department, one of the most famous departments of the college, was vandalised. Celebrated scientist and Nobel laureate C V Raman has worked in this laboratory, set up in 1913 by Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose.

All these are part of a larger series of attacks on the left and democratic forces in West Bengal by the fascistic TMC under some hollow pretext or the other. Anybody raising any voice of criticism against the government has been branded a “Maoist”. Whether it be the case of the Jadavpur University professor who was arrested for forwarding an e-mail which took a dig at Mamata Banerjee, or that of the student who asked uncomfortable questions to the Chief Minister during a TV programme, or that of the farmer who was detained for voicing his grievances, the ruling dispensation’s absolute intolerance of criticism has reared its ugly head again and again. Well over 450 Left supporters have been murdered by the TMC and the CPI-Maoist since May 2009.

While we are aware of the character of the corporate media and whose interests it serves, it is extremely unfortunate that DSF – an outfit which claims itself to be a left student organisation – has taken it upon itself to parrot the lies peddled by Mamata Banerjee. DSF has shamelessly chosen to denigrate the protest and the protesters by throwing abuses and calling names. It has made farcical claims of CPI(M) leadership trying to “hijack” the protests over Com. Sudipto’s custodial death. Only those with a particularly jaundiced vision can hurl such accusations at an organisation for protesting it’s own comrade’s murder.

The student community will see through the hoax of the moral preaching of the DSF, which has gone on to term the protests as ‘infantile rowdy’ behaviour by picking on one unfortunate incident while mentioning the repression unleashed by the TMC in Bengal only in passing (DSF press statement, 9 April 2013), thereby mocking the genuine outrage of the protesters at the terror let loose by the TMC and its government. How different is the DSF’s argument from the logic given by the ruling classes in order to brand and delegitimise every dissent and protest?  Furthermore, the DSF has also taken recourse to white lies such as the protesters being ‘non-students carrying placards of student organisations’.  Those who joined the protest by SFI, DYFI, AIDWA and CITU obviously included students, youth, workers and women, including working class women. What can one say if the ‘decent sensibilities’ of the DSF are hurt by seeing working class women and men protesting alongside students against grave assaults on democracy? To call protesting working class women a bunch of rowdies is a shameless surrender by the DSF to a crass bourgeois belief in sanitised protests and protesters within the norms of ruling class ‘decency’. Without bothering to verify the facts of the matter, this bourgeois outfit has instead joined the bandwagon of Left-bashing. By choosing to attack the Left instead of rallying forces with it at a time when Left activists and sympathisers are being relentlessly attacked in Bengal, the DSF has shown that in the ultimate analysis, they stand with the thugs of Mamata Banerjee; they have shown what a sham their calls for “left unity” are.

The DSF’s position that attacks taking place in West Bengal since Wednesday are merely the repercussion of the heckling by SFI activists not only highlights their own political bankruptcy, but (whether consciously or not) actively assists in concealing the fascistic character of the TMC. We appeal to the student community to condemn the terror unleashed by the Trinamool Congress in Bengal and to rally behind the left and democratic forces in the fight for democratic rights.

Deepanjan K, Joint Secretary, SFI JNU Unit
Viswanathan V, Joint Secretary, SFI JNU Unit                               

Public Meeting on Semi-Fascist Assault on Democracy in West Bengal

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Death of Comrade Sudipto will not go in vain! Intensify the struggle against TMC’s Authoritarian Rule in West Bengal!

SFI dips its banner in honour of Comrade Sudipto Gupta, member of its West Bengal State Committee, who died yesterday after being brutally assaulted by the police.  The brave 22-year old comrade was part of the protest by four left student organisations against the series of moves by the state government which seek to curb campus democracy, the most retrograde of which would limit students’ union elections to only once every two years. The police ruthlessly lathi charged students demanding their democratic rights. Sudipto was beaten to death in police custody - the violence was so horrific that Sudipto’s eyeballs came out. The grisly terror that sought to buttress the tyrannical rule of the ruling classes mercilessly cut short a young, promising life.

Here was a person who had, as Mayakovsky would have put it, “chosen to assert on behalf of the future generations that we shall refashion life on earth!”  Here was a young man, who had chosen not to succumb to all the pressures to go along with the status quo. Here was a comrade who chose to protest on behalf of students and all those yearning for democratic rights against the assaults on campus democracy rather than being content remaining in the “safe” confines of his home and classroom.

What was it really that made the ruling classes unleash violence in such a gruesome manner? History provides us some answers. Even during the days of the semi-fascist terror of the 1970s, the campuses in West Bengal were hotbeds of resistance. Today when Mamata Banerjee is leaving no stone unturned to once again take back Bengal to an age reminiscent of those dark days of terror, the voices of resistance are once again rising up from campuses and joining those who are struggling outside. It is the panic of the ruling classes at this wave of rising anger among the students and the youth that has led them to let loose such thuggish violence.

The latest move to curb union elections in Bengal comes on top of a number of previous attacks on democracy in academic institutions. Elected bodies have been dismissed arbitrarily and the posts have been allotted to Trinamool Congress supporters. At the same time, anybody raising any voice of criticism against the government has been branded a “Maoist”. Whether it be the case of the Jadavpur University professor who was arrested for forwarding an e-mail which took a dig at Mamata Banerjee, or that of the student who asked uncomfortable questions to the Chief Minister during a TV programme, or that of the farmer who was detained for voicing his grievances, the ruling dispensation’s absolute intolerance of criticism has reared its ugly head again and again.

It was only a few weeks back that the eyes of a worker were gorged out and his ears cut for having participated in the General Strike. The utter callousness shown by ministers and government functionaries in cases of assaults on women, including attempts to portray such cases as “fake” and “orchestrated” provide more evidence to the menacing nature of TMC’s rule. And all these have been happening in the backdrop of large-scale evictions of peasants from their rightful land. Places such as Haroa block in North 24 Parganas, Bolpur block in Birbhum, Bhangar & Sonarpur blocks in South 24 Parganas, and Purbasthali block in Burdwan have witnessed the eviction of thousands of Adivasi, Dalit and Muslim peasants who had been landless earlier and were granted pattas during the term of the Left Front governments. The most brutal violence on Left Front supporters has accompanied this regressive turn of events – since May 2009, well above 450 supporters of the Left Front have been murdered by goons belonging to the TMC or the CPI(Maoist).

But, let it be clear that the martyrdom of our brave comrade shall not go in vain. In the coming days the struggle against the authoritarian regime of Mamata Banerjee shall become stronger and sharper. The Central Executive Committee of SFI has called for an All India Protest day on 4 April (tomorrow) across the campuses and units of the country against the heinous murder of Com. Sudipto and against the attack on democratic rights. The students of West Bengal will go on a massive statewide strike on the same day.

SFI demands that the criminals responsible for the heinous murder of Com. Sudipto be prosecuted and given exemplary punishment. We demand a judicial enquiry into the whole incident. We warn the Trinamool Congress and the government led by it to put an immediate end to the ghastly violence unleashed by them against students and to immediately stop all assaults on campus democracy, failing which they should be prepared to face the wrath of the students and the youth.

SFI calls upon the student community of JNU to participate in large numbers in tonight’s burning of the effigy of the authoritarian Trinamool government and in tomorrow’s protest demonstration at Banga Bhawan.

Deepanjan, Jt. Secretary, SFI JNU Unit
Viswanathan V, Jt. Secretary, SFI JNU Unit

Mamata's Police Kills SFI Activist! Red Salute to Comrade Sudipto!!