Both 1984 and 2002 were acts of state-sponsored violence : Shehla’s response over Kanhaiya’s statement.


Jnu Student Union Vice-president Shehla Rashid responded to Kanhaiya Kumar’s statement on  2002 Gujarat riots and 1984 Sikh riots . JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday compared the alleged onslaught on varsities with Gujarat riots alleging both of them were carried out “with support” from state machinery even as he stressed that there is a fundamental difference between “emergency” and “fascism”. Asserting that there is a difference between 2002 riots and 1984 Sikh massacre Kanhaiya alleged that Gujarat violence was carried out through state machinery while the other was caused due to mob frenzy.  But , Shehla said that both 1984 and 2002 were acts of state-sponsored violence. 

Shehla’s Facebook post :-

” Been getting a lot of calls from journalists and common students regarding the statement made by Comrade Kanhaiya on 1984 vs. 2002 issue. Friends, I was not present at the event where he reportedly made the statement, as I was with the JNUSU delegation to NHRC on HCU & Calicut issue till late evening. I’m not sure whether his statement is being correctly reported, but if you ask my position on the issue, I would just say that both 1984 and 2002 were acts of state-sponsored violence and we must not draw contrasts between two human tragedies. We have equally spoken up against state-sponsored violence, be it by the Left front government in Bengal, the Congress government or the BJP governments. That is what makes us “Left”. The survivors of 1984 state-sponsored communal pogrom deserve all our support and we must refrain from making any statement that undermines their struggle for justice. In 1984 also, the JNU campus not only opposed the violence but even sheltered some of the Sikhs who were running for cover. We have spoken out against Gujarat as vocally as against Hashimpura and Singur-Nandigram. We cannot prejudge the case and give a clean chit to the state when there has been no credible investigation into the whole affair. The survivors of the 1984 pogrom are demanding precisely that– a fair investigation into the role of the state. Just as the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi endorsed the 2002 pogrom by saying that “each action has an equal and opposite reaction”, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi endorsed the 1984 killings by saying that “when a mighty tree falls, the earth shakes”. One can’t discount the role of the state on 1984 pogrom because it was in reaction to the murder of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, which itself was triggered by the state brutalities under Operation Blue Star. We must not be apologetic about 1984 massacre but must unequivocally condemn it. We shouldn’t leave this space for the right-wing to milk, because, while the right-wing pretends to be concerned about 1984, they are actually only shielding Modi over 2002, and nothing else. Ask them if they oppose the Operation Blue Star itself, and they will have no answers. While we stand united in the students’ struggles against fascism, we must keep healthy debate and discussion alive, as that is what characterises the Left. ”

Photo – The Indian Express

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