Published: 17th July 2019
Is SFI's loss, AISF's gain? How the stabbing is changing the political landscape of University College
Following the incident, the SFI's unit was disbanded. The AISF has now opened a unit in the campus. Who else will come in next?
University College, Thiruvananthapuram has always been a Left bastion. One of the oldest colleges in Kerala, there was only one student political party in the institution - Students' Federation of India. If student accounts are to be believed, upon admission, every student was mandatorily given an SFI membership and the ones who opposed were often threatened. A few KSU (NSUI's Kerala wing) members even allege that multiple times, they weren't allowed to file nominations for the college union election and were beaten up
But the incidents that took place there in the past few days were something unusual. An SFI member was stabbed by another SFI member. The SFI unit in the college was disbanded. The organisation's National President publicly apologised to the people of Kerala. In this scenario, many students in the college are indeed hopeful that the atmosphere on the campus will be peaceful in the future. That isn't just it. For the first time in its history, the All India Students' Federation (AISF), the Communist Party of India (CPI)'s student wing has opened a unit in the college.
The unit which was inaugurated on July 13, has 25 members now. Renin S Santhosh, a II Year BA Political Science student is the unit's secretary. AISF's ideology isn't much different from that of SFI's. But Renin tells us what sets the former different. "We're more peaceful than them (SFI). We have only raised our voice when necessary and we were never violent. We have established this unit here, to make sure that the campus is democratic," he says.
The unit is yet to disclose the names of its other members, owing to threats. Renin tells us more about this. "I myself had to face a lot of threats since Saturday. The people who called me even said that they'll kill me. This can happen to anyone and hence, I have the responsibility to assure safety to others," he says.
Is this young comrade scared? To say no will be foolish. But at the same time, he wants to assure that his juniors do not enter the college's campus with the same fear that he has now. "The new SFI members should not threaten the students like the old comrades. Freshmen shouldn't be terrorised," he says, adding that AISF isn't against SFI. "We do not hate the SFI. We are only against the criminals in the organisation. Ideologically, SFI and AISF are birds of the same feather," he says.
Arjun*, another student from the college says that the college's atmosphere is slowly changing since the stabbing incident. "Previously, SFI and left-leaning teachers dominated our campus. After this incident and previous harassment allegations against the comrades, the teachers are at least conducting lectures. I hope things turn out well," he says.
*Name changed on request