Hyderabad, April 4 (IANS) Rights activist and former bureaucrat Harsh Mandar on Monday said the young voices for justice and equality being raised in universities are the sparks which should lit the whole nation in these dark times.
Addressing students at University of Hyderabad, he said the young voices in this university, at Jawaharlal Nehru University and other campuses give a hope for the future.
He said the young people showed how to join hands regardless of identity, birth gender, caste, class, religion and age and how to stand together unitedly to fight politics of injustice, of hatred and of division.
“Perhaps every generation in difficult times will generate its own young people who have vision, imagination and courage to speak truth and reflect on injustices,” said the former IAS officer.
Mandar managed to address students at shopping complex, the venue of student protests, despite the continued ban on entry of activists, leaders and media into the university.
CPI-M MPs from Kerala, activists Teesta Setalvad, Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav and others were stopped from entering the university during last few days.
Mandar was in the university at the invitation of Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication to deliver a talk and he also used the occasion to address the students demanding immediate ouster and arrest of Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao for his alleged role in the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.
He said Rohith, through his words in the suicide note, stirred a battle that has grown and spread to many campuses.
“What is troubling establishment is not just young voices speaking truth but reminding us about our unequal and unjust world which we are not ready to accept,” he said.
The human rights activist said Rohith was thrown into such a despair that he had no option but to take his life while the young people in JNU were charged with crime against the nation and called for thousands of people to come out in the form of civil disobedience to challenge the notion who is for the nation and who is against it.
Stressing the need for people standing up in solidarity of victims of injustice, he pointed out that Rohith was described anti-national for raising the issue of Muzaffarnagar riot victims and also of Yakub Memon’s hanging. Kanhiya Kumar got into trouble for raising the issue of justice of Azal Guru’s hanging and of Kashmir.
He pointed out that JNU student Umar Khalid, though a Muslim, did not raise the issues of Muslims but spoke about the injustice being meted out to tribals.
“Many of us are challenged whether we are far the nation or against the nation. We need not to be defensive,” he said.
The former bureaucrat said whether JNU students shout offending slogans or not is not the central issue.
“Regardless of whether they raised slogan or not they should not be victimized. They must have freedom to raise questions even against their nation,” he added.