With the derecognition of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) and the arrests of JNUSU President D.P. Tripathi and Councillor Sitaram Yechury, the repression of the students movement in JNU reached a crescendo, and caught the attention of national leaders fighting against the Emergency. Legendary communist leader A.K. Gopalan wrote a letter to the Prime Minister protesting against the tyrannical attacks unleashed against the students of JNU. The letter was secretly circulated in the JNU campus as well, as per the well-established practice of the democratic forces in the campus fighting the Emergency. The letter is reproduced below.
Read & Circulate
Repression in Nehru University
(Copy of the letter sent by A.K. Gopalan, leader of the CPI(M) group in Parliament
to the Prime Minister on 15th November, 1975)
4 Ashok Road,
15 Nov. 1975
Member of Parliament
Dear Shrimati Gandhi,
I am writing to you regarding the repression against the Students’ Union office-bearers, activists of the Students’ Federation of India and other democratic student organisations in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Since the proclamation of the emergency, there has been a determined attempt on the part of the police and the University authorities to eliminate student leaders from the University, without any provocation whatsoever. On the evening of 11 November, Devi Prasad Tripathi, an M.A. student and President of the Nehru University Students’ Union was arrested by the police from within the campus and has been detained under MISA. Before this he was expelled from the University for six months on 7th Nov. after the Students Union was derecognised by the University. He was also not allowed to attend a meeting of the Academic Council on the 7th and his expulsion followed from the fact that he wanted to record his protest at the meeting.
This is only the latest act of victimisation jointly by the University authorities and the police. On 7th July police raided the hostels and arrested 9 students under DIR (including the General Secretary of the Students Union) on totally false charges that a meeting was held against the emergency the previous night. Also the former General Secretary of the Karamchari Sangathan was arrested. After this the Vice-Chancellor cancelled the admission of 11 students who had qualified for admission in the written test and viva voce and whose names were finalised for admissions by the respective departments. On 21st August, Miss Ashok Lata Jain, member of the Student Council of the Union was suspended and later expelled from the University as she had signed a Union Council statement protesting the Vice-Chancellor’s action regarding admissions.
On 25th September a shocking incident took place within the campus in broad daylight in front of many witnesses, when a student Prabir Purkayastha was dragged away to a black ambassador car by four police plain clothesmen belonging to the Hauz Khas police station. They had thought he was the President of the Students Union and had asked him if he was Tripathi before they dragged him away. Then to cover up their mistake he has been put under MISA in Tihar jail. It must be mentioned that this student had only recently joined the University in July. After that one of the student councillors Sitaram was arrested from his residence under Sec. 108 of the Cr.P.C. and later released on jail. Also warrants under Secs. 147 & 148 have been issued against two prominent members of the SFI, Prakash Karat and Suneet Chopra who are research scholars in the University.
So as it stands today, in an institution of around 2000 postgraduate and research students, 9 students have been arrested under DIR and are out on bail; two Union office-bearers have been expelled from the University and two students are detained under MISA. It is pertinent to note here that many of them are prominent members of the Students’ Federation of India in the University who also hold elected posts in the Students Union. The whole policy is designed to eliminate the left and democratic student organisations on the campus and the Students Union which they dominate by virtue of democratic elections.
Such a state of affairs is shocking in a Central Government University which is named after your father. I request you to investigate this matter and see to it that this sort of repression both academic and police-wise is immediately halted and all these students, who have first class academic records are allowed to continue their studies without interruption.
(To be continued)
Emergency Files - Earlier Episodes: