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A DU Girl’s Open Letter To The Public In the Aftermath Of The Ramjas Incident

Written by a DU student whose identity will remain hidden.

‘To begin with, I write this as a common student of DU. I am not a leftist, communism doesn’t appeal to me. I have zero party loyalties. I believe in neutrality and issue-based political opinion. This means that I will support ABVP if I ever agree with them on an issue.

Right now, my support is with the cause of Ramjas College, but my support is not motivated by a political ideology or partisanship. Right now I reject ABVP (NOT because I stand with AISA, the left, or any other party – I will not refrain from rejecting them as openly for their wrongdoings) but because of their hooliganism and their sheer disregard for fundamental constitutional freedoms. This is not a battle of the Left versus the Right. I reject ABVP because I reject goondaism. I reject ABVP because I respect and believe in the Constitution of India – I reject ABVP because evidently at this moment (and correct me if I am wrong), they don’t.

Because if they did, they would have shown their disagreement with Cultures Of Protest the way India allows it. If they did, they would have heard the lecture (a PhD. paper about Adivasi Areas, not separatism) by the disputed speaker and challenged his points, refuted them in debate and discussion. If they were against Umar Khalid being invited, they would have protested it peacefully, and so many people – probably even myself – would have joined it. They wouldn’t have locked students and teachers in their own college and pelted stones at them despite the invitation to the controversial speaker being withdrawn. They wouldn’t have beaten peaceful protesters with sticks or hurled stones at them, they wouldn’t have issued rape threats to the women involved or conducted manhunts.

If they respected the constitution, I wouldn’t be framing this. You wouldn’t be reading this. Students wouldn’t be losing out on their education because the campus environment is too dangerous. The university wouldn’t be flooded with patrol vans and police buses and uniformed men and women. Khalsa College wouldn’t have cancelled its Theatre Festival because they’re afraid of being attacked. Delhi University would be what it is supposed to be – a site of learning and exploration – and not a site of fear and oppressed opinions.

So who is anti-national? Who is against the Constitution? I have seen false narratives being painted about ABVP being attacked. It is hard to separate the reality from the fabricated facts on both the sides, but I have also seen goons beat down people who weren’t even involved in the Seminar just because they happened to be at Ramjas College, and in these goons’ view. I have seen the violence with my own two eyes, and I condemn it.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not so against the ABVP for protesting Umar Khalid’s invitation at a seminar – they have as much right to protest something as anybody else. HOWEVER, I reject them because they violently attacked when the Seminar was continuing without Khalid or Shehla – the college had already withdrawn the invitation. The speaker at this point of attack was Vikramaditya Sahai. This uncalled for violence is what I condemn on the part of ABVP, and I condemn them for using violence on a group of peaceful protesters the very next day.

Importantly, I also condemn ANY sloganeering which diverts attention from the issue at hand – that of the safety of students and their rights – in order to suit various other political agendas. THE PROTEST AT RAMJAS IS ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY AS A SAFE SPACE FOR DIALOGUE AND DISSENT. I condemn and reject, and dissociate this movement from those who shouted for Aazadi for Kashmir and Bastar, not because its legitimacy is debatable, but because that isn’t what THIS movement is about. This isn’t an issue to be hijacked and turned into something entirely different from it, something which those supporting Ramjas do not necessarily agree with. Despite whatever the media says, THIS ISN’T JNU. It isn’t the common students raising these slogans, but parties with vested interests. And I have the ability to condemn these people and this sloganeering, just as much as ABVP does, because freedom of speech exists.

I would like to add again, for it is so necessary, that I am NOT with AISA either. Where AISA and other oppositional parties go wrong is their provocatory sloganeering and the few reported acts of violence which they indulged in themselves. We do not need their support if this is the cost. I condemn BOTH the right and the left for trying to manipulate the Ramjas Issue for their own political benefit. This movement is not about them.

To reiterate, this is not a fight of the left vs. the right; but possibly a fight against both by students who want to save the University Space in its spirit. We, the common students who are on protest, DO NOT call for Aazadi for Kashmir and Bastar.
The Aazadi which we ARE fighting for is from hooliganism, from fascism, and from fear; and I will be against anyone and anything that represents these now or in the future. National integrity is important to me. I respect my soldiers. But right now, these aren’t the ones being threatened – I promise to fight just as hard as I do right now when they are.

Jai Hind.”