Hunger Strike in JNU Enters 9th Day: What Is At Stake And Why We Must Support It

Kavita Krishnan

An appeal to all to support the JNU hunger strike in every way you can. What is at stake? The students’ right to study without surrendering their right to differ from the RSS. Some students are being ‘rusticated’ – i.e their studies disrupted, their academic record tainted by ‘punishment’. Another is being thrown out of the hostel. Several are being fined – and, if they refuse to pay the fine, they will lose their hostel rooms, and not be allowed to register in the coming semester! In other words, unless they pay fines, they won’t be allowed to remain students anymore.

On 7th day of the hunger-strike, JNU students burning castist/anti-women/racist dossier by RSS sympathizer Amita Singh maligning students movement.
On 7th day of the hunger-strike, JNU students burning castist/anti-women/racist dossier by RSS sympathizer Amita Singh maligning students movement.

The University administration has not bothered with furnishing proof against the students. It’s brief is, after all, to protect the prestige of its masters in the Modi Government, not piffling little things like due process and proof.

Every rupee of ‘fine’, every day of suspension/rustication/out of bounds/hostel eviction is aimed at humiliating and silencing dissent. That’s why the students are right when they say they won’t accept these punishments.

This isn’t a game – JNU students are fighting for us all, for democracy and the right to dissent. And not for the first time. JNU students including Mona Das and Awadhesh and teachers (Kamal Chenoy, who the now infamous ‘dossier’ brands as anti-national) have been on hunger strike before, in solidarity with the dam-displaced people of Narmada and Medha Patkar.

Find ways to show solidarity. People are organising solidarity fasts, marches, rallies, and much else to Stand With JNU. Tomorrow (7 May) there will be a human chain at JNU – if in Delhi, do join!

Yes, a hunger strike is a painful way of protest – for Irom Sharmila, for Medha Patkar, for JNU students. But the students have weighed their options and chosen this form of protest – not on a whim or fancy but because there really is no other way. If you want Irom to end her fast, join the struggle to force the Govt to repeal AFSPA. If you want JNU students to end their fast, join the movement to force JNU to take back the atrocious and utterly unjust punishments.

Salaams and Zindabad to all the JNU saathis, especially the brave, valiant hunger strikers!