Rahul Gandhi Visit: Dissent In Chains?

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By Fahad Shah

Sophie Scholl
A still from Sophie Scholl- The Final Days

It is not disheartening to hear that a good number of students were in the Convocation Hall of Kashmir University, on Monday, to interact with the Congress poster-boy, Rahul Gandhi— the General Secretary of the party. There is something which is hard to make them understand. They joined him, thinking that he may listen to and solve their grievances. But when his great-grandfather, grandmother, father didn’t listen to Kashmiris for decades then what are you expecting from him? A revolution!

While talking to journalists he said: “I have come to Kashmir in connection the membership drive to bring youngsters into the political stream and [to] listen to them.” So the lobby of youth which listened to him patiently might be celebrating, for they are part of Congress now. They will join the brigade led by the poster boy himself. The party in whose regime there are more scams than schemes. Poor are dying, farmer suicides, land is put on sale to industrialists, more arms are imported to stop every movement against the state, and more laws are made to suppress the populace in Kashmir, North-East, Chhattisgarh and many other disputed regions of India.

Leaving all these scams aside Rahul said he had come Kashmir for not to talk politics. As Indian Express reported today that a student asked Rahul why FIRs were not registered against police and paramilitary men responsible for civilian killings in Kashmir. Rahul said: “I will not talk about politics.” So the poster boy believes that filing an FIR when a civilian is killed is politics. Then what is law?! I wonder. What is justice?! I am surprised. What is democracy?! I am shocked.

A year ago the same varsity where a political leader is interacting with some students was demolishing a small office of Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU). The reason was not to allow any political activity in the campus. This union was for the unification of students under one umbrella to counter injustice but the previous Vice-Chancellor— a front-page “celebrity” for a local newspaper, behaved more than any Nazi Vice-Chancellor. This organisation was not drafting anything like The Manifesto of the Students of Munich like they did in Germany once. Though, even before anything like that the state government imposed strict action against the students through varsity authorities. Overnight police raids, arrests during protests and telling hostellers to vacate before visit of any political leader in the campus became common. There was no Sophie Scholl but even the idea of persons like that made them suppress all indoor-campus movements.

Now when the poster-boy arrived in the same campus it becomes a political zone both spiritually and materialistically which authorities deny. The voice of dissent was never allowed here. The collaborators were groomed and they flourished. I won’t be surprised to see some students among them, who met Rahul yesterday, queuing outside 24 Akbar Road, New Delhi. They might discuss Kashmir issue in the capital. They might be cheerleaders for “Rahul as Prime Minister of India”. Who knows? They are the self-styled “representatives” of Kashmiri students, although they can’t even understand political motives.

Follow the author @FahadShah_


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