The incident in which Abhimanyu, a second-year undergraduate student of Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam was brutally stabbed to death on Sunday midnight, has shocked the entire state.
According to preliminary information, Abhimanyu, an SFI leader was stabbed by Campus Front activists during a clash between the Student Federation of India (SFI), the CPM student wing and Campus Front, the student outfit of Popular Front of India (PFI) over wall graffiti. Along with Abhimanyu, a resident of Marayoor, Idukki, two other SFI workers Arjun, a resident of Mavelikkara and Vineeth were also attacked. As per the latest reports, Arjun who was seriously injured has overcome his critical condition. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reacted that it has come to light during the preliminary investigation by the police that the murder was a very planned one. He has also pointed out that those outside the college campus, who had extremist leanings led the attacks. The police has nabbed seven people and arrested three others. The search is on for more people who have been involved. Abhimanyu belongs to a farm worker’s family in Vattavada in Idukki district which lies along the Tamil Nadu border. Reports say that the unexpected murder has left the whole village shattered. The fact that the deceased youth was liked by one and all is what deepens the sorrow of the villagers along with his family.
The episodes of violence and clashes -even murders- in the college and university campuses are not new in the state. Although the political and communal outfits vouch for democracy, the experience so far does not allow us to believe that their student wings function peacefully and with tolerance. Although the parent organizations disown them whenever bloodshed happens, there have neither been, nor are there, any deliberate attempts to bring the educated generations to the level of healthy debates and intellectual activities. Instead what is taking place is a fierce competition to prove their strength and establish supremacy. What is seen now is that each party ensures the financial support and mob backing according to their capability. There are not many instances in which the governments in power have followed an approach free of organizational bias towards student politics. It was when an impression was created that anything other than education could take place in higher education institutions, that public interest litigations to ban campus politics reached the courts. As a result, the ban was imposed in educational institutions. Even while being rightly pointing out that apoliticism of educational institutions would lead to more dangers, the misfortune faced by Kerala is that it is difficult to convince the people about this on the basis of facts.
At the same time, the frightening incident that took place in Maharaja’s comes when the campuses have been becoming relatively peaceful. Reports are such that one cannot easily believe whether the incident was merely accidental, or spontaneous due to an emotional outburst.. Most of the people who were nabbed by the police were those outside the campus and a few are past sthe age of college education. The police hints that there are non-students among those yet to be caught. This clearly means that the outfits branded as extremists will have a hard time to absolve themselves from the responsibility of the incident. The present national situation is such that religious minorities and the organizations with similar background are usually hunted down and subjected to unreasonable actions. In this situation which demands utmost patience and vigilance, deeds that give room for provocations, campaigns and hunting by the lawmakers cannot be justified in any way.
None would accept such acts as bravery, legal defence or democratic resistance. Let us point out yet another significant fact. The outfit which has the support of a secular democratic national organization and was once the most prominent student outfit in Kerala has been losing its grip across the campuses. This has paved way for students to get attracted to organizations with extreme character, particularly when the Fascist student-youth outfits have already gained strength at the national level. It is also an undeniable truth that the Left student organizations which claim secularism have failed to retain an atmosphere of democratic dialogue and to display a tolerant behavior. If those concerned are reluctant to realize their failings, the atmosphere in the campuses is not going to be peaceful merely by raising a hue and cry whenever issues crop up.