The reports in some newspapers saying thousands of students from across the country had demonstrated against the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi turned out to have carried wrong headlines. These were students affiliated to a host of opposition parties.
New Delhi: On Thursday, students and youth from around 50 opposition parties and other organisations — including wings of the CPI(ML), AAP, Samajwadi Party — marched from Red Fort to Parliament Street, complaining about “unemployment” and the education system.
Promptly put in place as an umbrella outfit, the Young India Coordination Committee had students falling over one another for selfies with the CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar and the Congress’s ally in Gujarat Jignesh Mevani.
DMK’s Kanimozhi, SP’s Dharmendra Yadav, JD(S)’s Danish Ali are few of the Members of Parliament who were present at the rally, too.
“We are here to take India back from this fascist government,” said Kanimozhi. She attacked the Centre by saying that the government painted a “false picture of employment,” and was “intolerant of journalists, thinkers, students”.
SP’s Yadav said, “All youth organisations must come together…considering how the government has cheated people and mistreated universities.”
Mevani said: “The BJP came to power by garnering 31% votes. The 69% who didn’t vote for them have no reason to do so even now. But the 31% which voted for them is now completely shaken because of unemployment, GST, inflation, etc.”
At a time when India has become the sixth largest economy in the world, thanks largely to the private sector, the socialist streak in the thought process of these activist-students was evident in their demand for immediate filling up of vacancies in government jobs, spending at least 10% of GDP on education and instituting GSCASH in all campuses.
The activist-students further demanded the enactment of the so-called ‘Rohith Act, named after Rohith Vemula, the student of the Hyderabad Central University who committed suicide, leaving behind a scrap of musings rather than a suicide note. His suicide has been projected as that by a “Dalit” research scholar fighting discrimination in educational institutes even though his father, a Vaddera, was an OBC caste of stone-cutters, a community based in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The situation of government-run educational institutions, of course, leaves a lot to be desired; yet socialists want more government everywhere! “There is no permanent teaching faculty in my college. For chemistry, there is only one professor. We’re here to protest against this government,” said Hema Kandpal from Nainital, a student of Kumaon University who was present in the rally.
Rabindra Kr Bedia from Jharkhand, studying in JM College, said, “We don’t have sufficient teachers. The college is not well connected by public transport. How will we study and how will we get employed?”
“In the last three-four years, fee has increased dramatically. We have come here today to protest against this total attack on education,” said Rumela Deb, a student of Rishi Bankim Chandra College, from North 24 Parganas in West Bengal.
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Last Updated Feb 8, 2019, 2:49 PM IST