The recent suicide of Jawahalal Nehru University student Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham, better known as Rajini Krish, is all set to turn into a major political controversy, with the BJP's students wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) distributing a pamphlet calling for a protest at the Centre where he was studying, while an upcoming Dalit students organizations terming the move “politically manipulative”.
In a statement, the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA-JNU) has said that the ABVP has shown a “conniving concern” by the “killers of Rohith Vemula and assaulters of Najeeb Ahmed.” Vemula was the Dalit student who committed suicide a year ago following alleged pressure from political higher ups in Delhi, while Najeeb is said to have been hacked to death, though his body has not been found for four months.
BAPSA statement said, “Whenever Dalit-Bahujans start asserting politically, the right-wing claim immediate stakes on this assertion while the left bastions, even while extending solidarity to the oppressed, affirm the right-wing's claim.”
It added, “In this time of extreme grief, we are now facing a similar two-pronged attack: One, an attempt to appropriate the death of one of us, and our struggle by the saffron right-wing. The other, an accusation by 'thekedars' of left progressivism of being in complicity with and becoming the 'foot soldiers' of these very forces even while portraying themselves as the modern Jajmans of the education system.”
Known to be keeping a critical distance both of the right and the left, BAPSA, claiming to be guided by the vision of social justice of Babasaheb Ambedkar, further said, the ABVP move of protest is “not only fake, but more than that, it is dangerously harmful for Krish's identity as Dalit.”
“One thing that is glaring at us in ABVP's pamphlet is that they have tried to hide his identity as Dalit with their saffronized language. Nowhere have they mentioned in their pamphlet that he is a Dalit and a strong Ambedkarite activist”, the statement said,
“By attempting to brahminize his identity, by referring to him with a name he never used for himself, they are essentially trying to erase his assertive Dalit self. Beyond any surprise ABVP jumped in to settle score with their rivals. Unfortunately, a Dalit has to die to awaken their 'conscience'. A Dalit's life has become a spectacle for a drama that ABVP has unleashed”, the statement adds.
“It is atrocious that a right wing organization is seeking justice for the oppressed, given their long history of perpetrating violence on the bodies of the marginalized. ABVP is trying to manipulate students' perception of Krish and the conditions created by this Brahmanical social order that led to his institutional murder”, the statement says .
It further says, “The naming of specific faculty members in context of the problems Krish was facing in his Centre is a dilution and a gross misrepresentation of the problem that we are trying to raise... There is a lack of proactive and conducive social environment which then proves to be discriminatory and exclusionary for the Dalits and other marginalized.”