Time to firmly deal with varsity violence

The endemic violence, arson and loot, and widespread damage to public property which followed the passing of the Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) in states like Assam and Bengal should ideally have been anticipated by the Centre. Advance security provisions ought to have been made as during the countdown to the Ayodhya judgment since it was fairly certain that the Rajya Sabha would pass the Bill.

This is despite the fact that law and order is a state subject. Cooperation of TMC ruled West Bengal would have been difficult to obtain given the open hostility of the state’s termagant chief minister Mamata Banerjee towards the ruling BJP. But the situation could surely have been better controlled in Assam where the BJP is in power.

What, however, transpired inside the campuses of Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) underscored yet again the pressing need to seriously consider permanently shutting down both these varsities. It is surprising nothing much happened at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the nucleus of Leftist/Urban Naxal ferment, home of the nefarious ‘tukde-tukde” gang, and the flash point of innumerable bust ups with the law.

No nationalist worth his salt will deny that all three centres of higher education have become breeding grounds of anti-national activity. Which invariably extends to fanning hatred against the Hindu world view, their gods and belief system if not outrightly against the majority community. The pseudo-secular argument that mere mouthing of slogans to break-up Bharat or to oppose action against Islamic terrorists cannot be seen as seditious rings hollow. Because all treasonous activity begin this way. Nipping the evil in the bud is absolutely necessary when the country’s unity is under threat from internal enemies. Islamic terror and Maoism constitute the two biggest dangers.

Delhi protests against CAA turn violent (Source: india.com)

With a clutch of crucial legislation like the ban on Triple Talaq, disabling of Article 370, and enactment of CAB through, and the decades long Ayodhya imbroglio out of the way, there is no better time to begin the process of sending out a firm message to college campuses that places of learning cannot and will not be allowed to become political playgrounds breeding disaffection against the state. Protests, if any, should be confined to matters concerning corruption, incompetence, and irregularities within the institutions. Students who feel strongly against the government’s policies on any issue are welcome to throw their weight behind a movement or whip up opposition outside its boundary walls rather than force a lock down of the entire varsity.

Many forget that JMI, like AMU, was founded in Aligarh in 1920 before moving five years later to Karolbagh, Delhi and in 1935 to its present site in Okhla. Each one of its founders was Muslim, the most well known being Dr Zakir Husain Khan who went on to become the President of free Bharat. It was declared a Public Central University in 1988 with the noble intention of fostering the values of Bhartiya ethos and nationalist pride, especially among Muslim students bred on madarsa education, values which continue to elude the majority of its inmates to this day.

And now to deal with the main grouse: why and with whose permission did the police enter JMI’s library and canteen, fire teargas shells, putting students to fright and frenzy and injuring a few. To which the simple answer is the police under Section 41 and 48 of the CrPC needs no permission from anyone to enter any premises or pursue anyone in any place within the country with or without a magistrate’s warrant. Quite obviously the right of forcible entry is reserved for contingencies where the men in uniform feel that disturbers of the realm have taken shelter with or without the concurrence of the owners.

Which is exactly what probably happened at JMI and in the immediate vicinity of its campus at Jamia Nagar. The decision to cross the red line was taken only after stones were pelted at the police, buses torched and public property destroyed. There was good reason to believe that the malefactors were hiding inside.

The action was absolutely necessary to drive home the message that felons, law breakers, and trouble makers will be chased down, tracked if push comes to shove. The change in mindset is welcome from the turn-a-blind-eye during the Congress days to avoid offending minorities who constitute the party’s core base.

Which is also why the Supreme Court refused to take a view on the police action at JMI. Petitioners were instead directed to approach the high court since the matter fell within its jurisdiction. More mortifying for the petitioners was the court’s refusing to grant a stay on CAB while seeking reply by January 22 to no less than 59 PILs challenging the Constitutional validity of the Act.

Lastly, what needs to mentioned upfront is that there is no reason why college campuses should be regarded any more sacrosanct than mosques, temples or gurudwaras when it comes to hunting down criminals, rioters, and terrorists. They are preferred sanctuaries because of the popular notion that cops would avoid entering their precincts to avoid public criticism.

If Indira Gandhi could in 1984 have ordered an Army assault on a portion of the Golden Temple complex (Harmandir Sahib) where Khalistani desperadoes led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were holed up, what is so holy about a college campus?

This is not to say that students, howsoever misguided, be treated like terrorists. But there is no question of ignoring their actions given the rising radicalization among them — in good measure at the behest of the Congress and its allies. That these will go to any extent to pacify them is only too well known.

(Featured Image source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com)


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About the Author

Sudhir Kumar Singh
Sudhir Kumar Singh is an independent journalist who has worked in senior editorial positions in the Times Of India, Asian Age, Pioneer, and the Statesman. Also a sometime stage and film actor who has worked with iconic directors like Satyajit Ray and Tapan Sinha. He writes regularly for the HinduPost as consulting editor.