Published: 25th August 2020
Whose protest is it anyway? ABVP and JNUSU claim varsity's concessions as their own victory
The JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh said that they have been protesting about the issues discussed since the lockdown was announced. The ABVP says this one's on them. Whose line is it anyway?
The Jawaharlal Nehru University might have agreed to look into the issues regarding the fee waivers and calling back students to the campus, but whose protest made it possible? That seems to be the question now. The fact that the administration may have come to the decision based on complaints and due process does not even appear to be on the table as far as India's most vocal and hot-headed student unionists are concerned,
The JNU Students' Union, dominated by the left-aligned organisations, said that this is the result of their continuous protests since as early as April while the ABVP claim that their conversation with the Dean of Students is what bore fruit. Both of them declared their respective victories and decried the opposite group's 'appropriation' of the victory.
Talking about what happened on August 24, JNUSU Joint Secretary Mohammad Danish said that they had given the call to protest on August 24 a few days back and the ABVP just hijacked their idea and organised a protest that morning. "The administration did not say that they have agreed to the demands. They just said they will look into it and that is why we told the students that we will hold the DoS to his words. The ABVP on the other hand told people that their demands have been accepted," he added.
JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh said that they have been protesting about the issues discussed since the lockdown was announced. "The JNUSU has written letters from the start of the lockdown regarding issues affecting students. We sent multiple representations via email and raised student issues regarding difficulties in online education, the difficulty of research students and mess bill discrepancies. Yesterday we held a protest and we expect the administration to follow up on these issues," she said.
In parallel, ABVP's JNU President Shivam Chaurasia said that they have been working for the students on the ground and accused the JNUSU of helping only 'anti-nationals'. "They have nothing to do with the students' cause. We have taken up the students' concerns and they are realising who is fighting for them and who is misusing the students' mandate," he added.
Calling the ABVP's concerns a sham, Aishe said that the RSS student body is only trying to create misconceptions. "The ABVP is indulging in fraudulent shadow boxing to create misconceptions among students that they are serious about student issues. Nine months ago we saw the same people hounding students of JNU with rods. Their activists are being appointed to JNU teaching posts en masse. It is ridiculous to think that they will address the issues created by people who are their allies. Hence, students are not going to fall victim to false," she added.
But this is not something new, said JNUSU Councillor Apeksha Priyadarshini. "When the scholarship disbursal was recently made online by the Administration, ABVP had again claimed that it is because they wrote to the administration that this happened," she said. "But through the past few months it has been JNUSU that has been agitating against this inhuman attitude. Many of us, including myself, participated in online protests and Twitter storms to make our voices heard to demand scholarships. But as soon as a circular came out about an online portal for disbursal, suddenly they portrayed it as their effort, " added Apeksha.
Even though the results of a protest are important, it also matters who won it. With the election season coming up every protest and the answer to 'whodunit?' leaves a mark.