ABVP ‘banned’ on Jammu campuses

After the NIT episode where outstation students were thrashed for ‘daring’ to raise the national flag, now ABVP (student wing of RSS) has been ‘banned’ in all colleges in the Jammu region. Political observers are extremely surprised by this action of the ruling PDP-BJP coalition, especially as Deputy CM Nirmal Singh is a former state ABVP President. It strengthens the belief that politics in J&K is dominated by the Kashmir valley based parties, while the aspirations of people of Jammu and Ladakh are usually ignored. It also raises serious doubts about BJP’s credibility in J&K if it cannot even ensure that a nationalist student body like ABVP is allowed to legitimately function within the state.

Interestingly, BJP had won all its 25 seats in the 2014 Assembly Elections from the Jammu region, and formed a coalition government with PDP which won 28 seats (all from Kashmir valley). J&K Assembly has a total of 87 seats, with Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh regions sending 37, 46 and 4 MLAs respectively.

This media report throws more light on the ‘banning’ of ABVP within Jammu –

“The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of the Sangh Parivar, has been “banned” in all educational institutions in the Jammu region even though the BJP shares power with the PDP in the state.

As far as membership is concerned, the ABVP is the largest student organisation of the country. The entry of this organisation has been banned in all educational institutions in the Jammu region. Most importantly, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh is a former state ABVP president. Most central leaders of the BJP have ABVP background as well. State Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder  Gupta and Health and Medical Education Minister Bali Bhagat have always claimed to be former activists of the ABVP.

After the refusal of the authorities of Jammu University to give permission to the ABVP to hold any function on the campus, the administration of different degree colleges of the state have decided to follow suit and debar the organisation from any activity. “For the forthcoming national executive committee meeting of the ABVP, its local unit sought permission from the authorities of Women College at Gandhi Nagar to organise a public reception,” sources said. “The ABVP was denied permission outright even though the Deputy Chief Minister was scheduled to be the chief guest at the function,” the sources said. The authorities of the Women College, it is learnt, made it clear that an organisation like the ABVP would not be allowed to “pollute” the atmosphere of the college.

The sources said permission had already been denied to hold the function at Abhinav Theatre and some other government auditoriums despite the fact that some BJP ministers had intervened in this matter. “Authorities of the Education Department have given clear instructions to heads of various educational institutions not to allow the ABVP to hold any function on the premises of their respective institutions,” said the sources, quoting the administration of Women College. The sources said some senior officials of the Jammu Municipal Corporation had tried to cancel permission granted for organising a closed-door meeting of the national executive committee at Jambo Lochan community hall.

State ABVP organising secretary Shalinder Tiwari admitted that some elements in the administration had not been “treating the organisation properly”. “We have produced our constitution and registration certificate, wherein it has been clearly mentioned that the ABVP is a non-political student organisation,” he said. “In spite of doing this, permission was not given to us for holding a public reception in educational institutions,” he said. He claimed that some forces in the administration had been trying to discourage “nationalist” people in Jammu and Kashmir.”

This action will only add to the strong perception among people from Jammu that they have been neglected and denied political space because of the Centre’s policy of appeasement toward the Kashmir Valley. The BJP top brass must reflect on why PDP seems to be running roughshod over them on practically every issue, even though the difference in seat count of the two parties is just 3. Why isn’t BJP’s writ running even in Jammu – the region where it won 25 out of a total 37 seats?