When equality is denied everything is denied
On the 13th of March 2017, Muthukrishnan Jeevanathnan also known as Rajini Krish, a Dalit research scholar in JNU committed suicide by hanging himself. His death and his writings when he was alive all speak to the nature of caste based discrimination faced by dalit scholars all over the country in various educational institutes. Despite his articulation we hear a repeated assertion of old tropes of Dalit scholars not being able to ‘cope up’ with the pressure at Universities.
It is only a little over a year after RohithVemula was found hanging in a hostel room in the University of Hyderabad, that now another young student, Muthu, of Jawaharlal Nehru University has been found hanging in a room of a friend. Muthu too struggled to enter esteemed institutions of higher education, far from his native home, with the hope of changing a destiny written by a Brahmanical caste ridden history. He was a cheerful presence at all the protests against Brahmanisim at the University of Hyderabad, but he was primarily focused on getting admission in JNU. Muthu was well aware of the weight of historical deprivation that students like him carried when they entered such institutions. A student of modern Indian history, his efforts appear to have been to make sense of this past, recognise its manifestations and find ways of addressing it. Continue reading
WSS Statement on Recent Blasts in Sukma
WSS condemns the IED blast in Sukma on 11.3.2017 in which 12 CRPF personnel lost their lives and several others, including members of a road-construction crew, were injured. We express our condolences to the families of the deceased.
We are concerned that this incident will further fuel the cycle of pointless violence in which the entire Adivasi community is made to pay the price for the violent acts of others. Our experience shows that such attacks are followed by violent reprisals against the community in surrounding villages, through random arrests, forced “surrenders” and illegal detentions. Such responses, and the rhetoric of “revenge for the blood of martyrs” that is used to justify them, only deepens the alienation and exclusion of Adivasi villagers.
We hope that the state government will continue with efforts to restore the rule of law and regain public confidence, signaled by the shake-up in the police and administration in Bastar. But this is only a first step – the situation on the ground continues largely unchanged. We have a long way to go in combating the mindset that labels all Adivasis and human rights defenders and journalists questioning state violence as “Maoist supporters”, thereby legitimizing the harassment and violation to which they are subjected.
We reiterate our stand that militarization is not the answer to the present situation. The lives of combatants on both sides, and uncounted adivasi villagers continue to be lost in this war. Nothing can justify the bloodshed and loss of human lives and the destruction of the land and forests where this war is being fought.
WSS (Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression) is a non funded, nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising of women’s organizations, mass organizations, civil liberty organizations, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals. For more information, please see wssnet.org