In a departure, Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of CPI (M), has realised striking class should be the last resort of agitation. The belligerent face of student community, SFI has a history of striking classes at state, district or institution levels, on flimsy grounds.
Addressing a function in Kannur on Monday, SFI national president V Sivadasan said striking class should be the last weapon of agitation. The SFI has to explore new methods of agitation as class strikes would destroy the credibility of student organizations.
He said the new generation students have developed a tepid approach towards unnecessary agitations and methods that destroy public properties. Hence, we are looking to new methods of agitation that can hold together the student community, said Sivadasan.
SFI got the hindsight, a few days after CPI (M) central committee member E P Jayarajan demanded that the student outfit should change its agitation methods. In a district conference of the SFI, Jayarajan had stated that students should focus on creating a situation in which everybody can study.
CPI (M) in Kerala has also been retreating from massive agitations in the recent past. Despite in Opposition, the party does not have a single successful agitation against government to showcase in last three years.
SFI, the largest student outfit in Kerala, has been in the forefront of fighting for students rights in the state. Its cadres had engaged in many blood-stained street fights with police or rival student outfits. The outfits had a gallery of student martyrs, generated from such agitations. In its category, SFI has been known the most vibrant student outfit.
However, the recent trends showed the outfit has been keeping away from the traditional methods of agitations. The organisation had faced the flake for its failure to attract students for its agitations. That drift synchronised with the growth of professional educational institutions across Kerala, which attracted students from all strata of society. The availability of educational loans ensured the flow of students to such professional colleges, where political activities failed to gain momentum.
Besides, many cadres realised that senior CPI (M) leaders had sent their wards in self-financing colleges, for their smooth, agitation-free education. This had created a feeling among the student community that they were made tools for furthering the political interest of leaders.
Another factor that dissuades the student organisation to keep away from violent agitations is the stringent law recently enforced in Kerala that the persons arrested in connection with the agitations should pay for the damages caused if they have to get bail. Many student organisations have paid lakhs of rupees towards this account to get their members released on bail. In some cases, the leaderships had jettisoned the local activists who had hit the streets without proper consent for agitation. That has also played dampener for the students to go for violent means of agitation.
Last week, local leadership of CPI (M) at Vellora in Kannur had come out against agitations which called for striking classes at party controlled Tagore Memorial higher secondary school.
SFI state secretary T P Bineesh said the organisation has not taken an official decision against shunning class strikes. However, the views on the issue would be discussed. Striking class has always been the last resort for the SFI, he said.
Kerala Student Union, student wing of Congress, said the organisation has not boycotted class on unconvincing reasons. “We welcome the SFI stand on agitation,” said its president V S Joy.