Written by Aggam Walia
Commemorating 100 years of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a seminar was organised at Panjab University by Students for Society (SFS) on Friday.
Three speakers— Himanshu Kumar, Kanwarpal Singh and RS Bains — dwelt on “dissent in present-day India” at the seminar on ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: 100 Years of Crushing Dissent’ at law auditorium on Friday.
Himanshu Kumar, a social activist and the seminar’s first speaker, talked about “the repression of tribals in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha”. “Vikas means take from poor and give to rich”, said Kumar who claimed that he has a hundred arrest warrants against him for working with tribals. “It is our duty to oppose injustice”, he said.
The second speaker, Kanwarpal Singh, a Dal Khalsa leader, explained the phenomenon of minority repression in India. “Our oppressor is common, so why don’t we stand together against him?”, asked Singh.
He appealed to the audience to join the fight against majority rule. He also referred to Gauri Lankesh’s murder and the “repetitive misuse of sedition law to demonstrate how people standing up against powerful forces are being treated”.
RS Bains, an advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court, who was the last speaker at the event, talked against draconian laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He compared certain present-day laws to Rowlatt Act, which enabled the British to open fire at the crowd at Jallianwala Bagh, and showed that we have not moved past our colonial legacy.