PR, JNU, KalimNews, Delhi, 12 May 2016: The misery of the oppressed seems to be unending in the world’s largest democracy. Every minute we come across stories from the length and the breadth of our country about oppressed communities and their daily struggle for existence. This agony of the oppressed goes unheard, unattended and unaddressed. Democracy fails us and the ugly Brahmanical exploitative structure rears it’s hydra head everywhere. Gorkha students of JNU has protested against these atrocities and pasted posters in the university campus.
Violence against women is not new to this feudal, patriarchal and racist power structure where women are considered no less an object to be owned and possessed. The patriarchal unequal gender relation of the society has its own class, caste and racial manifestations. Recently, a young Dalit student, Jisha was raped and brutally murdered in Kerala. The perpetrators of this despicable and horrendous act are yet to be punished. The atrocity that went unto raping and killing the young woman is outrageous.
How is it, that ‘a body’ becomes prone to more torture, pain, and abuse and why is it that ‘this body’ belongs to an adivasi, a dalit, a minority and a woman or an oppressed gender. Our political institutions and society are yet to address these issues. However, they are but symptoms of a larger malaise affecting us all. For Jisha and many others, her identity as a woman and a Dalit was enough for the perpetrators to carry out the abhorrent crime with impunity. Such acts have been historically ignored and neglected. Becoming all though more troubling when we see that the so called ‘progressive’ fonts pays only lip service to such gross injustices, thereby, confabulating this struggle for justice and equality.
In yet another similar incident, in Margherita, Assam, a young Gorkha girl, Champa Chetri of just 20 years was found to be raped and brutally murdered and thrown in a river. Her deformed body later showed the degree of brutality meted out to her. When some public spirited citizens and organizations came forward and protested against such atrocity, the Tinsukia police rather than finding the culprits were quick to condemn such protests as fomenting anarchy. The police and the administration in no uncertain terms have tried to belittle the issue and with no media coverage of this heinous act, we fear that this incident too would be in the long lists of cases, where justice goes dying with the dead.
Sadly, this is not new. We encountered similar apathy of our government and our political leaders two years back when a student from Sikkim was sexually molested by her seniors and blackmailed into silence at the prestigious Visva-Bharati Central University in Bengal. Social media uproar forced a few political leaders to speak on this, who vouched to fight for her and to put the accused behind the bars. Sadly, when the furore died down so did their promises. Till now, the girl still has to undergo medical treatment for her traumas while the culprits still roam free inside the campus, allegedly, because of help and protection from the officials of the University itself. Her father however remains determined and continues to run from pillar to post hoping that one day he will be heard and his daughter will get the justice she deserves.
Our question remains, as to why that people from certain background are exploited with such impunity. Why is it easy for the perpetrators to carry out such horrendous acts without the fear of law or justice? Only too recently a girl from Manipur was abducted right from the middle of a street in a foiled attempt in the city of Bengaluru. Thankfully, the girl was able to free herself not because people chased away the perpetrator or caught him but because of the sheer grit and courage of the girl alone, while we see in the cctv captured video of the act that people stroll by in the vicinity as if nothing has happened. This is indeed shameful and reprehensible. In an incident last month, another girl from the north-east was racially abused by an auto driver who forced her to speak local language.
Also, in continuation of the series of racial attacks, closer to campus, on May 2nd John Thapa and his friend John Rana hailing from Gorkhaland, were brutally beaten up by the locals of Chakkarpur in Gurgaon for raising objection against throwing dirty water on them by the locals. Both of them were brutally beaten by rods and sticks by locals for daring to raise their voice. What is more disturbing is that last year similar kind of racial attack had occurred on 18/05/2015 when Abishek Rai and his two friends all hailing from Teesta Valley, Gorkhaland, were brutally beaten up by their landlord’s son and his friends in Gurgaon. Everywhere there seems to be one common thing. The identity of the oppressed becomes an incentive for the oppressor to victimize them. These incidents clearly show that racism for people with certain ethnicity in India is a daily living experience. It’s not alone limited to people from Northeast. Even non-north eastern people like the Gorkhas, the Ladakhis, and the Tibetans face it.
Also, it is alarming when we see that such casteist, racial, communal and linguistic discrimination seems to have permeated from our society and unto our political institutions as well. Allowing for a fascist and repressive system to thrive and which represses anything which comes as progressive or just. Such repression got manifested again when two people were killed over police firing in the Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh. The protestors were demanding the release of Gyatso, the Secretary of the Save Mon Region Federation (SMRF), who were questioning the building of the dams in an earthquake prone area and were demanding that consent should be there from the local villagers. We have already seen such brutal repression when huge dams were built on the river Teesta in Sikkim and West Bengal repudiating the concerns raised by the locals about the adverse impact these dams might have on their life, livelihood and the environment.
Sadly, we as a society seemed to have normalised this repression and given into the ideology advocated by this repressive regime that makes anyone standing against them typecast as criminals or anti-national. Such typecasting takes away from them their political rights and allows for the full force of the repressive machinery to be turned on them while the citizenry is lulled into looking the other way by the mantra of “greater good”. Such plundering of the tribal forest lands and flooding of huge hill areas are all carried out in the name of the “development”.
However, the question remains whose greater good? Is it the good of the regimes over the blood of the oppressed nationalities or is it the blindness of the collective conscience which fails to see the dark side of this greater good? Violence against the oppressed communities has always been structured and programmed well by the authors of oppression, ever and always.
History will never forget and forgive the killing of about 1500 people under the state repression during the 1986 Gorkhaland agitation or the atrocities that were meted out to people under the Armed Forces Special Power Act in the North East since 1958. Such state repression is sophisticatedly designed to combat and repress voices of dissent in any form.
In the recent times too we see how such forms of repression has permeated and penetrated even into our educational institutions like HCU, JNU, FTII or JU wherein all and any voices of dissent are criminalized.
How institutionalised murder of Rohith Vemula was orchestrated by Brahmanical power structure for showing his dissent and extending solidarity to other oppressed communities. We have seen how the progressive environment of our own university too is being poisoned by the same repressive state apparatuses manifested in the recent dictatorial High level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) report and the farcical dossier which tries to isolate and profile certain sections of the student community and teachers as immoral and anti-national based on their caste, religion and racial ethnicity.
Such profiling is what allows for certain sections of our society to be devoid of law and to their claim to its equality, justness or fairness. People with no claim to law are hence then found to be easy target of the repressive regime and the casteist and racial society that we have come to exist in. It is what has allowed the perpetrators of the heinous crime against Jisha to the reach the level of horrendousness yet unheard. It is what is making the Tinsukia administration and police to brush the horrible rape and murder of Champa under the carpet of nonchalance. It is the lulling and normalising of such depraved acts that has allowed the molesters in Shantiniketan to roam free, or the violent acts in Gurgaon to be reported unheard. It is this ideology of supposed ‘Development’ which excels in repressing and killing its own people. Only if lived experiences of the oppressed and the historic specificities of their struggle is acknowledged, rather than that of patronization and appropriation, then the true organic solidarity can be forged.
Gorkha Students, JNU condemns all such heinous acts and travesties of justice. We condemn, in the strongest terms the despicable crimes committed against Jisha and Champa who were brutally raped and murdered. We demand a proper investigation in all these cases with speedy trial so that the perpetrators are booked and justice should be delivered in these cases. We believe that only the unity and solidarity among the oppressed can break the chain of patriarchy, Racism and Castiesm and establish a just and democratic society!