The whole state of Kerala is up in protest against the incident of the third year degree student, and SFI local committee member, Akhil Chandran being stabbed in the chest in an attempt to murder by his own organization's college unit president and secretary.
Most leaders of the student outfit (Students' Federation of India – SFI), which monopolizes the student politics of several such colleges, and its former leaders who later graduated to be leaders of the parent political organization CPM, have come out strongly denouncing the crime. The student body's unit got dismissed, workers got expelled and there is a spate of apologies from those in and around the organization. A sister leftist student body has conducted street protests against the SFI hooliganism. Social media is flooded with tears of sympathy. But beyond the tears in tv channels that get viral in virtual channels, the question is who does what to take on the campus fascism that takes the form of knife penetrating the ribs of one's own partymen. But mere jumping into the melee with sound and fury will not be enough to cool down the protests rising against violent politics.
The incident happened in broad day light right under the nose of the state's administrative nerve-centre. Four persons have been nabbed in the case and a lookout notice issued for eight others. Initially the police was slack in the probe although cases were filed against 30 suspects. Students say that both culprits in the violence that was committed at 10.30 on Friday morning, were in the Students' Centre of the campus till evening, scaring the students with daggers. Although a police team led by DCP was present outside the campus while the stabbing happened, the chief culprits could not be nabbed. The college authorities sat quiet unmoved by the act that shook the land, as if asking what stabbing, stabbing who. The police complain that the college principal failed to inform police promptly. And the police had to wait till Saturday to step into the notorious torture room of the campus. But there is a point behind the police inertia: in a case involving a youth party leader assaulting a police sub inspector early this year in the capital, the DCP who searched the party office to catch the youth leader, was thrown off his post. Given such experience, the police will continue to play safe and go slow.
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has assured that the party will not in any case justify violence nor obstruct the enquiry. It is to be seen whether his words have any effect in practice. Revelations keep coming from those who had worked in SFI, that the main accused were not just veering to violent politics by mistake, but have a history of handling people involving own partymen in a brutal manner. This raises the suspicion how the government intervention will be effective. A female student who committed suicide earlier had left a suicide note that those responsible for her death were office-bearers of the college union. But even then, there was no move to catch the culprits and punish them. And despite the student gang occupying a classroom indepently for themselves, converting it into a room to torture opponents, and storing liquor bottles and arms in it, the authorities did not take any action. Now the minister for higher education is talking about introducing a bill stating how campus politics should function. One wonders what political activity it is that carves out a virtual lock-up room, draws SFI tattoo on the neck and strips the opponent of his loincloth to make it a flag of lilberty. The campus is not meant for diabolical criminals. What is needed is to put them put behind bars, rather than use it as a pretext for denying access for political activities in campus.
The party secretary and leaders have come out against the criminalism against SFI. But the public will easily see through the deception in the party's responses as if what happened in Unviersity College was an isolated bolt from the blue. In fact, the protests that erupted and individual narrations of personal experience, following the Akhil incident, do reveal the SFI terrorism prevalent in many campuses. Many campusus dominated by SFI, have become the evil fortresses of fascism. Social media is abuzz with the grievances of those who had been its victims. The conduct of University College by SFI and MG college by ABVP (Akhil Bharat Vidyarthi Parishad) – both in Thiruvananthapuram - is managed under the shadow of campus fascism. It needs to be examined on the basis of campus performance, whether the Marxist student outfit SFI, that is big-mouthed against fascism, has been subject to Stockholm syndrome. The parent party's secretary affirms that following the violence, SFI has taken certain resolutions and they will mend their ways. MA Baby, member of CPM's Polit Bureau, says that it is not SFI policy to prevent other parties from functioning. Will SFI leaders abide by these words of the leaders? If yes, no doubt the light and air of democracy and freedom will break the barriers of fascism and enter the campus.