The proposed move by the State government to ban campus politics has come in for sharp criticism from students’ organisations warning that it is a perfect recipe for anarchy and for creating an apolitical generation.
The State government’s intention to ban political activities in colleges came to light in an affidavit filed by the Higher Education Department Additional Secretary in the High Court on Friday. The affidavit said that no student organisation would be allowed to function on the campus without the permission of the Principal.
V.S. Joy, State president of the Congress-affiliated Kerala Students Union (KSU), said the affidavit was filed without the knowledge of the Chief Minister or the Education Minister. “It was the handiwork of the bureaucratic lobby and college managements. There is no question of the Chief Minister and Ministers of the State who had come up through the ranks of students organisations abetting any such move,” he said.
The KSU would strongly oppose any such move and had already started exerting pressure to withdraw the affidavit. Campus politics was essential and banning it amounted to usurping the fundamental rights of students. However, the KSU would extend all possible support to suppress violent politics on campuses, Mr. Joy said.
Shiju Khan, State president of the CPM-affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI), warned of strong protests against any move to put hurdles in the students’ right to organise. Students’ organisations are relevant in creating democratic and secular campuses. “It is ludicrous to take away the Constitutional right of students when they have the right to vote. Anti-social activities from ragging to murder and substance abuses are mostly reported from non-political campuses,” he said.
K.P. Sandeep, State secretary of the CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation (AISF), said the move initiated during the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to give legal safeguard to students’ organisations should be revived. He said that even the J.M. Lyngdoh committee that called for restrictions on campus politics had admitted to the relevance of students’ organisations.A reality
“Sporadic incidences of violence on campuses are a reality. But it should not be generalised while at the same time students’ organisations should take the initiative to shun their violent streak. We, however, are against frequent strikes disrupting classes and agree with the proposal to make 90 per cent attendance in a semester mandatory,” he said.
The AISF plans to burn the Chief Minister’s effigy in all districts on April 16 and to follow it up with gagged protests on April 25.
O. Nidheesh, organising secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), alleged that the government move was aimed at appeasing self-financing college managements, which were the sole benefactors of any curbs on campus politics. “It has been proved that campuses without student’s organisations turn into dens for drug abuse, gunda raj, and mafia,“ he said.
Mr. Nidheesh called for a united front of all students’ organisations to defeat the proposal besides fighting it legally.