There are many rumours floating about suggesting that today’s March has been cancelled, police denied permission etc. None of them is true. The JNU Solidarity March is very much happening, Mandi House to Jantar Mantar at 2 pm onwards. BUT some IMPORTANT CONCERNS that I appeal ALL to keep in mind:
1) We must give no pretext or excuse whatsoever to any right-wing goons to attack us, so let’s keep the gathering at Mandi House silent and orderly. Bring scarves to tie around mouths if you can – to signify the gagging of free speech and of Constitutional liberties by the use of the sedition law. Bring flowers – lots of flowers.
2) Slogans on the placards – let us stick to those slogans widely accepted and shared by the broad, wide solidarity that has been forged. This March is not the place to insist on raising slogans on which there may be differences. Sure, we need to create and defend spaces to discuss contentious areas of our differences too – including on subjects the State deems ‘seditious’ – BUT this March is not the time or place for that. Let our placards highlight our demands re JNU, re Rohith Vemula, and assert the spirit of Dr Ambedkar and the Constitution.
3) We will not clash with police: we will cooperate in every possible way to make sure the gathering is peaceful. That is, we will not seek to break barricades or enter into arguments/scuffles with cops. If stopped by police anywhere, we will sit right then and there peacefully. We appeal to media to cover us – wherever we may be sitting.
4) As I said right at the beginning, we will not enter into slogan wars with any right-wing group – rather let our silence resound, in contrast with any noise or provocation on their part. Our numbers will be large today – BUT we will not use the confidence of large numbers to get into scuffles or clashes with ANY right-wing group – we will REFUSE to enter into any such confrontation.
Lastly – every single participant in the March is encouraged to help make sure these norms are followed by their friends, companions, fellow marchers. A lot is at stake – including the freedom and safety of Com Kanhaiyya and each other JNU student who is being hunted by the police. We will NOT allow the March to be portrayed by anyone as ‘a clash between two groups’ etc.