Published: 26th November 2019
Kerala Central University students do a Harvard walk out of talk by 'saffron agents' TP Senkumar, Jacob Thomas, others
The students claimed four of the seven speakers had made many problematic statements that were Islamophobic and communal
About ten days ago, a viral video showed a large number of Harvard students walking out of a talk by an Israeli envoy. They remained silent and simply held placards they slowly walked out, row after row. Today, in a smaller auditorium in Kasargod in Kerala a similar thing happened. The hall was situated at the Central University of Kerala. Rows of students walked out of a talk by several speakers they believed were part of 'agents of saffronisation'.
The political science department of the University organised a national conference on the occasion of Constitution Day and had invited various speakers to speak on 'Constitution and Democracy: 70 Years of Indian Experience'. Out of all the speakers, the Ambedkar Students' Association along with other student organisations had stated that RLM Patil, MS Johan and KC Sunny were all proven academicians and that their credibility cannot be questioned. But they could not say the same about the other speakers at the conference.
The other speakers included TG Mohandas, TP Senkumar, Jacob Thomas and GK Suresh Kumar. The ASA in its statement slammed Mohandas and Senkumar for allegedly making Islamophobic and communal remark, "TG Mohandas who is taking the session on Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic has no credible academic records that show that he is capable of addressing a crowd at a Central University. The irony dies a rather uncomfortable death when you invite a known riot instigator to talk about secularism," the ASA said.
The ASA pointed out that Senkumar has done his PhD on the topic of 'road accidents in Kerala', "The topic is no way connected to the conference theme. So how did a controversial cop turned lawyer get selected for a session like this? ," the students ask. "Just like T. G Mohandas, D Senkumar is also famous for his unabashedly Islamophobic and communal remarks. From love jihad to demonizing conversations, he has spewed all types of islamophobic and communally divisive narratives imaginable," the student state,
The Harvard students walking out of the talk -
About GK Suresh Babu, the ASA said, "Babu is the chief editor of the Janam TV, the BJP propaganda mouthpiece which always at the regressive end of issues." Speaking about Jacob Thomas, the ASA states that his PhD in agronomy is not connected with the theme again, "Thomas is invited to the sangi clubhouse because he has recently come out with a startling revelation that he had been working in coordination with the RSS the past 25 years. In other words, he has been rewarded for violating a central ethical principle of bureaucracy having to be neutral in terms of ideology and politics for the last 25 years."
Today, students from several student organisations walked out of the talk with copies of the constitution in their hands along with placards with slogans. "We didn't want to create any kind of ruckus. So we walked out quietly, almost three-fourths of the audience for up and left. We didn't want to be violent in any way," a student said.
Another student, who is from the ASA also said that they wanted to protest because it was a democratic right, "We cannot celebrate an event that is against what Ambedkar preached about the constitution. So that's why we carried copies of the constitution in our hands as we stood up and walked out," they said.
"Four out of the three speakers are just not equipped to speak about the constitution. One of them has even said that we should adopt the Manusmriti instead of the constitution, how can he be allowed to speak on this topic?" a student questioned. The students were also upset because they had not been consulted when the names of the speakers were being decided. When asked if they were worried if they would be taken to task for what happened, the students said that since it just happened, the administration had not had enough time to react to the situation. "But since we had already been raising our voices against it, we were threatened and told not to cause any disruption. But we didn't, we were silent and didn't cause any trouble to anyone. We simply got up and left," he explained.