Although being branded anti-nationals by some, student union leader Shehla Rashid believes that the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) incidents have actually helped student politics.
“We recently prepared a calendar of our activites,” said Rashid, vice-president of All India Students Association in her maiden visit to Punjab. She was speaking at a seminar organised in Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana. “We will be visiting almost 80 districts in India, from the North-East to Kerala under the AISA banner.
Although earlier too we had been fighting for the rights of students, we never had the sort of recognition that we have been getting now. I must thank PM Narendra Modi for this.”
The Centre had acted tough against student leaders of JNU, New Delhi after it was claimed that a section of alleged students had taken out a rally in support of Afzal Guru, who was given the capital punishment for his role in the 2001 attack on Parliament. It had even slapped sedition charges against a few student leaders.
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Rashid, an M.Phil student at JNU, said, “We are not anti-nationals. We are fighting for social justice and it is a fight against hatred, violence and much more.”
“This government is anti-democratic, anti-people and is spreading hatred and violence. The AISA and other student unions from across the country will fight against this,” said Rashid. “The main issues raised by the Centre during its two years in power were love-jihad, gau raksha, ghar wapsi, mutton versus beef and much more. They need to answer once they return to the masses to seek vote.”
During the visit, the AISA is sensitising students to revive student unions in the campuses. “Campus unions have been crushed and we are trying to revive and spread movement in the whole country,” said Rashid. “The focus will be on education and employment as well. Enactment of ‘Rohit Act’ is yet another agenda so that dalits need not to suffer.”