Right to Protest

 Mudasir Ali Lone

An event organized and planned on Facebook got my attention as it was about Asiya and Neelofar, victims of Shopian double rape and murder, who still await justice.

Kashmir University Students Unions (KUSU), which is still banned and trying to get off the hooks of administration and work freely as a true Student Union had organized the event despite numerous restrictions and restraints.

I got to know from students that they had to struggle a lot for organizing and holding this event, but they finally managed to get off the hooks despite stiff resistance from administration. At the event students from different departments of University spoke about the atrocities committed on Kashmiri people, and especially about the use of rape as a weapon of war by men in uniform.

Being one of the few such opportunities where students of KU get to speak freely and openly on political issues, all the students spoke their heart-out on how they feel about the oppression of Kashmiri people. The students raised slogans against Indian imperialism and for the freedom of Kashmir at the conclusion of each of the speaking sessions. The event went peacefully and completely according to the norms, with students exercising their freedom of expression at the very best.

But I was shocked at the attitude of university administration. I don’t get it, why did they have to intercept and interfere after every brief interval and ask the students to wind up the event instead of joining them to speak against the atrocities committed on their fellow citizens, like the students did?

They, being the intellectuals and representatives of Kashmir, have the foremost duty to speak against the oppression and atrocities committed on Kashmiri people. On the contrary and on a shocking note, they didn’t let the event go on smoothly, but instead kept on playing the spoilsport. Their intervention and interruption was so irritating that students booed the university administration many-a-times by shouting, “shame…!”.

But still the administration didn’t keep off and consistently kept poking their nose in the functioning of the event. What happened finally was that the organizers of the event had to give in to the forceful intervention of university administration and had to conclude the event in a hurry.

If all these things weren’t enough for the dictatorial attitude of KU administration, one of my friends (an outsider-not a KU student) who had raised slogans, was later detained by police. University administration was so baffled by mere sloganeering that they got him detained! Where on earth is the sanity and the intellectual integrity of the administrators of the premier institute of Kashmir?

You get a notion that university administration is so scared of students, that they feel giving them a political platform will be a disaster for the university. But you are left wondering, why? It’s high time that the university administration shuns such dictatorial attitude, and takes the path of construction and reconciliation, and recognise the fact that their present attitude will backfire at them, because censorship and oppression has limits.

And when the limits are crossed, things turn ugly. I fail to understand the illogical, unnecessary ban on KUSU. Ban on KUSU needs to be revoked immediately to inculcate democratic principles and accountability in the administration, so that administration works for the benefit of students, and not as some adversary that students hate to death!

Mudasir Ali Lone is  a  B.Tech  student at  Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad.

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