Published: 01st November 2017
SFI Shocker: Two Dalit women students go to cops, claim SFI members beat them up for talking with a male friend; called them 'Dalit terrorists'
The students allege that the fact that they are members of the Ambedkar Student Association is also one of the reasons they were attacked
Two Dalit women students from Government College, Kottayam, were beaten up inside their college campus on October 30 by a group of students who were allegedly members of the SFI. The victims are final year Political Science students and are presently admitted at the Government Medical College for treatment.
The victims, Arathi Suji and Athmaja AD, both 20, were attacked on Monday evening while they were accompanying their friend and her male acquaintance. Athmaja said that her close friend who had graduated the previous year from the same college had come back to campus for her certificates and had been accompanied by a male friend. "Around 4 pm in the evening, Arathi and I were walking along with our senior and her friend. We were nearing the gate when 5-6 men approached us and started beating the boy black and blue. When we tried to stop them, they started beating up as well," Athmaja recalled.
The two students have filed a complaint at Chingavanam police station under the SC/ST Act and also sexual harassment charges as they claim that the men also touched them inappropriately during the incident. Since it is now an SC/STAct complaint, the case has been transferred to the Changanassery Police.
Victim of student politics: Atmaja AD, one of the victims said the attackers kept abusing them for 'immoral behaviour'
Accused of 'immoral behaviour'
The victims said that they recognised two of the students as members of the SFI, one of whom was the President, "The other students were all passed out from our college but are always on campus. They demanded to know why we were with a male friend, why he was allowed on campus and accused us of immoral behaviour. Then they started brutally beating the boy up, so we panicked and intervened, so they started hitting us, whilst hurling abuses and threatening to kill us," she added. "Nobody helped us and finally a woman who was a passer-by tried to stop the attack. After they went away we went to our department staff who took us to the hospital and told us to file a complaint," she said.
"In June, we conducted a protest against the increasing number of incidents of the SFI attacking students and for having an aggressive attitude towards anyone who didn't support their party. At that point of time, they also called us names like 'Dalit terrorists' and threatened to 'teach us a lesson'.
Principal distances self from incident
While the doctors have ruled out any serious injuries, Athmaja and Arathi say they have a lot of body pain and suffered external injuries too. "The staff were extremely supportive and our Principal was also initially supportive and asked us to file a complaint if needed, but advised us to take into consideration the college's reputation as well. But now she is distancing from the event saying that the incident happened outside the campus," the victim said.
Called 'Dalit Terrorists'
But the victims say that this is beyond moral policing, Athmaja and Arathi say that the SFI members have always looked for an opportunity to create trouble for them because they are both members of the Ambedkar Student Association. "In June, we conducted a protest against the increasing number of incidents of the SFI attacking students and for having an aggressive attitude towards anyone who didn't support their party. At that point of time, they also called us names like 'Dalit terrorists' and threatened to 'teach us a lesson'. They are so dominant on campus, they don't let any other parties function and they terrorize anybody who has a different ideology," Athmaja explained.
Braving the attack: Arathi Suji in the hospital awaiting tests after the incident
SFI State Secy condemns attack against women
The SFI Kerala State General Secretary M Vijin said that whether it was an attack by SFI students or any other party he would condemn it, "I would never justify such an attack. It is simply wrong and whoever is responsible should be dealt with according to law." On the allegation that SFI members were terrorising the campus, Vijin said that in no instance has the SFI been forcefully elected and they only win elections across the state because the students believed in their ability and ideology. "Ours is an ideology that everyone can apply to their lives. We would never knowingly discredit democracy or force our ideology on anyone," he added.