Aisa Almanac of Struggle
Hunger Strike in JNU
Protesting against the arbitrariness of the JNU administration in admissions to the M.Phil course, AISA unit Convener Com.Shubhra and Com.Vaibhav went on an indefinite hunger strike from Aug.5th onwards. The emotions were running high as the health condition of the strikers were deteriorating day by day. Finally, the administration was forced to appoint a review committee on Aug.9th at midnight. This is the first victory of AISA in this academic year and definitely not the last.
Road Roko right in front of the Police HQ
The Delhi Police in the recent years has been doing all that it could to confine demonstrations to some officially decided desolate corners in the name of regulating them and to make them meaningless tamashas by forcing them to follow stereotyped or stagemanaged steps. Any other real show of protest that takes them by surprise would be dealt with a brutal iron hand. This 'patronage for democracy' met with a fitting rebuff when the JNU students took to the streets right in front of the Police Headquarters - one of the busiest roads in the city near ITO intersection - to stage a protest demonstration on the issue of bus facilities to JNU. AISA students played a leading role in this programme organised by JNUSU on Sept.1.
JNU Demo Against HRD Ministry
JNU AISA students pulled the wool over the Delhi Police eyes once again on Sept.16. Refusing the offer of some token demonstration at some pre-assigned place, they pushed through the barricades to reach the office of HRD Ministry to stage a demonstration when they were pushed back by the police. It was a battle of wits between the students and the police for over 30 minutes. Ultimately, a 5-member delegation headed by JNUSU president and AISA leader Chandra Sekhar and Tapas, AISA All-India Secretary, met the minister and submitted a memorandum.
Communalists Out! -
Singhal Booed in BHU Too
Recently, VHP Chief Mr.Ashok Singhal was invited to a function in BHU campus to be held under the auspices of the VC on Aug 10, organised by the union headed by ABVP. AISA decided to oppose it tooth and nail and rallied other students organisations like SFI and the students wing of JD and organised an impressive protest during his visit. The peaceful protest demonstration met with brutal police lathicharge and a number of AISA activists, including All-India Secretary Com.Sunil were arrested. As a consequence of this, a proposed visit of Sushma Swaraj, the BJP central spokesperson, was also cancelled.
The Ban and the Banner of Revolt
How do the academic bureaucrats set out to clean up our universities? The BHU VC is an extreme but excellent example. Instead of tackling the real problems in the right manner, the VC is behaving like a despotic feudal lord in suppressing genuine rights of the students and is also acting as a BJP cadre. He has converted the university proctorial board into, more or less, a police force. He has banned all forms of democratic protest like processions and dharnas inside the campus while he himself moves around in a 5-car cavalcade with 20 security personnel. An AISA convention against the ban on Aug.20, was attended by more than 150 students and it was also addressed by SFI State Secretary and Chatra JD leaders.
Flames of Anti-Corruption
Kanpur unit of AISA is led mainly by girl students and they burnt the effigy of HRD minister on July 22, close on the heels of Allahabad Convention as a response to the resolution of the convention against the Hawala-tainted ministers.
AISA Agitates in Assam
AISA organised a signature campaign on issues like restructuring of college governing bodies with students' representation as against the proposed move by the AGP government to do the same with political appointees and removal of para-military forces from the Science College campus. A dharna was also organised in front of the District Court on Aug.26 to press for these demands.
On July 24th, Madras unit of AISA organised a demonstration against the handing over of a government women's college at Vellore to private hands and against the rape of a 15-year old school girl by a teacher near Madurai. Massive procession and demonstration were organised at Kumbakonam and Madras respectively on Sep.17.
March to Raj Bhavan in Lucknow Braving Lathi Blows
AISA students from all universities of the state along with RYA activists marched to Raj Bhavan on Sep.10 at Lucknow as a mark of protest against the betrayal of UF government on the issues of right to work and education and against the indifferent attitude of other parties towards these issues. The march from G.P.O. turned out to be a road roko at Hazratganj junction as the Governor refused to meet the student delegates. The police resorted to brutal lathicharge. In the scuffle between students and police, 4 AISA activists and a policeman were seriously injured. The march was led by Com.Shankar, All-India President of AISA. Lathi blows rained on all important leaders, including Shankar, Mahendra, Gopal and Sunil. Only 7 days prior to this, AISA students of Lucknow University had encountered another lathicharge while protesting against the hike in admission form fee, in a Gherao VC programme.
AISA Advances in Delhi University
Delhi University has long been considered a fortress of rightwing dominance - dominated alternatively by NSUI and ABVP. Despite years of efforts by SFI and AISF, they could make little dent in this rightwing duopoly. But AISA which started out in DU only in 1994, has been making steady headway. During this year's DUSU elections held on Sept.13, for the first time AISA fielded a complete panel of candidates. The main theme of the campaign revolved around the fight against lumpenism in the campuses perpetrated by NSUI and ABVP and the demand for complete revision of the existing curriculum (which is communally biased and ideologically ranged against dalits and women). AISA attained third position for the post of secretary, next to ABVP and NSUI, securing a respectable 3049 votes, leaving behind SFI-NSUI (Tiwari) alliance and PSU. Despite PSU's better performance than AISA for other posts, it is not reflective of its decade-long work in DU. The worst sufferer is the SFI which had to remain content with only 1458 votes for the post of secretaryship, the only post it contested as part of its alliance.