Published: 12th September 2018
AISF hangs a punching bag with Modi's face in Kochi, gives option to youth to either hug or punch it
AISF's Punch Modi Challenge is going viral and the organisers of the event say that they're now being threatened by the Sangh
Last Sunday, the passersby in Kochi's Marine Drive saw a blown up punching bag in the middle of the rainbow bridge. It wasn't a regular punching bag. This one had the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on it. Not just that, the owners of the punching bag, the All India Students Federation gave the onlookers two options - They could hug the bag if they think that the union government has genuinely done any good for the people or if they think the opposite, they could punch or kick it as much as they want and explain themselves to the public. To the organisers' surprise, around 500 people participated in this event called Punch Modi Challenge and not even one person bothered to hug the bag!
"The current situation in our country is pathetic. The fuel prices are rising everyday and life has become really difficult. On top of all that, the Malayalees have an issue against the central government for denying proper aid during the floods," says MR Harikrishnan, AISF Ernakulam District President. In order to protest, the organisation wanted to come up with a different type of campaign and that was how the Punch Modi Challenge came to be. "Recently, such an event was held in the US against Donald Trump. Here, we are not really targetting Modi, but his face is symbolic of the government. We don't aim to hurt him," he says.
The event was attended by not just Malayalees but also people from different states like Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. However, there was no clash of opinions. "Most of the women had an issue with the government not providing adequate flood aid. The men were against the petrol price hike. Most of the people from the other states were wondering where the Rs 15 Lakh that was promised to them went," says Harikrishnan.
Packing a punch: One of the participants punching the bag
Now that the hashtag #PunchModiChallenge has gone viral, the group is planning to organise similar events in different colleges in Kerala. One such event will be held on September 12 at the Kalamassery HMT Junction. The AISF is also overwhelmed by the support that they've been receiving online.
Even though the event was held peacefully, the Sangh Parivar has now lodged a complaint against Aslaf Parekadan, AISF Ernakulam District Secretary, accusing him of sedition. Aslaf, who got to know about this through a social media channel has been receiving a plethora of threatening calls since Sunday night, allegedly from the Sangh Parivar members. "I'm tagged as a terrorist and they want me to go to Pakistan. There are death threats too. Also, they organised a march to my house, passing a lot of derogatory comments about me," says Aslaf adding, "I have the right to protest against the government peacefully since I'm unhappy with it. What is wrong with that?" The Sangh Parivar has also asked Aslaf, who is also a member of the Ernakulam District Panchayat to apologise to the Prime Minister and to the Sangh, to which Aslaf had replied through a Facebook live video explaining his right to protest and there was no way he was going to apologise.