By Nimesh Bansal
Recently, Kanhaiya Kumar the former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) president was the subject of yet another public display of animosity. The All India Student Federation (AISF) and All India Youth Federation (AIYF) have commissioned a ‘Save India- Change India’ long March to protest against the BJP government.
Save India- Change India
The march started on the 15th of July at Kanyakumari and will touch 18 states and close to 15000 kilometres across the country, and hold 225 public meetings in total. The march will conclude on the 12th of September at Hussainiwala, Punjab, close to the India-Pakistan border. Activists say they intend to send a message to the government against spreading communalism in various parts of the country. They want the government to focus on big issues like education, employment security, food security, and farmer suicide.
Kanhaiya and the BJP
Kanhaiya Kumar is the face of the march and is pulling crowds in huge numbers. However, for every proponent, there seems to be an angry opponent. BJP activists in West Bengal disrupted Kanhaiya Kumar’s rally, preventing him from attending a public meeting at Hoogly’s Town Hall. Protesters threw stones at the people participating in the rally and called Kanhaiya Kumar anti-national. Kanhaiya’s car was also mobbed with BJP supporters waving black flags to showcase their disdain for the much-maligned leader.
The BJP Yuva Morcha staged a 100-activist-strong demonstration labelling Kanhaiya Kumar an IS terrorist group agent. AISF, however, stood their ground which resulted in an unsavoury scuffle. Police stated that 3 people were injured. Each side blames the other for flaring tensions.
The endless blame game
A Communist Party of India representative said, “All of a sudden a few youths started shouting slogans and demanded that he go back. They pushed our supporters. It was then that our supporters pushed them back. The police came and controlled the situation.”
BJP Yuva Morcha released a statement in response labelling the AISF as goons. “We were peacefully protesting against the public meeting of anti-national Kanhaiya Kumar at Jadavpur. During this AISF and Naxalite, goons attacked us and four of our supporters were injured. They had attacked us after they were instigated by Kanhaiya Kumar.”
Kanhaiya’s entourage, however, seems determined to continue. With issues like honour killing, mob lynching, and opposition of what they deem repressive schemes like the anti-Romeo squad on their agenda, expect even more ideological clashes in the coming month.
In the aftermath of the 2016 JNU protests, Kanhaiya Kumar said in an interview, “I question everything, does that make me a bad Indian?” It seems as if in the eyes of many Indians, it does.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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