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Reading Victimhood & Assertion : JNU And The Muslim Question

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It has been more than twenty two months since Najeeb Ahmed was forcefully disappeared from JNU campus after being attacked and communally targeted by the ABVP goons from Mahi Mandavi Hostel of the university. What we see today is that the culprits still roam free in the campus and neither Delhi Police nor CBI could show any development in the investigation, whereas CBI has even suggested a report asking to close down the case. In a situation when Muslims are being lynched to death by gau-rakshaks throughout this country, the case of Najeeb is more crucial. Najeeb had to face the Sangh Parivar attack from a university space, which claims to be universal and secular, and the left parties here were even complaisant enough to brand Najeeb as an accused during the attack.

Throughout the last two years, instances of police carrying out midnight raids to Najeeb’s house, dragging his protesting mother in Delhi streets and even blaming him of being associated with ISIS show how seriously the Muslim question is being taken in this country. Adding to this, the audacity of the administration to plan a course on Islamic terrorism shows how much prejudice a community is being seen and shown here. Branding and associating Islamic symbols to terrorism is not just a right wing activity as there are many examples where the leading left organizations throughout Kerala campuses accuse Muslim women activists to be associated with some terrorist groups.

Even after more than ten years since the publication of the findings of Sachar Committee report -which clearly states that the condition of Indian Muslims is even worse than the Scheduled castes and tribes-, no substantial measure is being taken by any organization or government in power. At the same time, any of the efforts in such directions are branded as the acts of appeasement towards Muslims. Indian Muslims, curiously enough, always have to face the double allegation of being an isolated and suspicious group and also as a group always getting appeased by secular parties. Reflecting on the gross under-representation of Muslims in government services as well as in education sector, there were various recommendations to rectify them and impart better facilities and opportunities to that community. In this regard, even the demands for minority deprivation points in JNU are not being addressed properly and the administration was keen enough to suspend all those who participated in protests in that direction.

Reservation, another institutional mechanism for the students from backward communities, has always been hijacked by the savarna forces in power, barring the entry of marginalized sections to the higher educational institutions. The severest example of scuttling down the reservation in last couple of years’ admissions by JNU administration shows how much the very presence of marginalized sections irritate the majoritarian groups. Murdering social justice by hijacking reservation, the JNU administration is overturning the very notion of constitution and we should continue our dissent in this regard. Just by citing the excuse of a UGC notification, the ninety percent seat cut of JNU administration directly affected mostly the students from marginalized sections only. Denying reservation first and then denying admission as well, the administration is gradually turning this university to be a savarna agrahara, a place to be untouched by the marginalized sections.

Having denied the right to education historically, the emergence of marginalized sections to higher education irritates no less the Brahmanic forces and all forms of their political and cultural representations are dealt with harshly by the administration, as could be seen in the notices given to the activists protesting against the gau-rakshaks. It is not just the administration but the mainstream left parties also maintain a calculated silence regarding the expressions of marginalized sections and especially that of Muslims, as could be seen in their restlessness while ‘In Sha Allah’ slogan was raised during the GSCASH elections last year. By equating a slogan from Muslim background to that of right wing violent assertions, the left politics in JNU could clearly show how poor and biased understanding they carry towards the Muslim question.

The left in JNU would always be noted for their deliberate attempt to not take up or understand the Muslim question, as they equally carry and share the mainstream fear of Muslims despite their loud claims against Hindutwa fascism. Islamophobia is not just the hatred spread towards Muslims, but actually it is the denial of political subjectivity of Muslims. Even though the Left Liberals are vocal and wannabe spokespersons about the victimhood narratives of Muslims across the country under the banners such as ‘Not In My Name’, they strategically silence the Muslim socio-political assertions in the taglines of ‘communalism’. During the last JNUSU elections, all the left parties here were busy in targeting the Muslim organization and they kept on asking SIO their stand on almost all the debatable issues around despite keeping silence on all their double stands. During this time also, the Left is keenly interested to divert the attention of students from the utter failure of the United Left Students’ Union. It is high time to expose the hypocrisy of the Left Liberals and the hooliganism of the Right wing Hindutwa, while supporting and extending the space for the marginalized communities in the arena of education as well as the political assertion.

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