Comrades of Students Federation of India (SFI), an outfit of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), was caught in a viral video in Kerala’s Kottayam based MG University, attacking a female cadre of All India Students Federation (AISF) during the University election.
The fight broke out after the senate elections took place at the university, during which four state leaders of the Communist Party of India backed AISF were assaulted by the SFI group.
The four victims of the attack were AISF leaders A Sahad, Rishiraj, Amal Asokan and Nimisha Raju.
A complaint was lodged by a female AISF leader at the Kottayam District Police Superintendent on basis of rape threats that were made during the attack.
An FIR is registered against seven SFI leaders who are named in Nimisha’s complaint with non-bailable offences.
“Get out of here, P*lechi [Casteist slur]. If you stand against SFI, you will have a fatherless child to deal with,” SFI leaders reportedly snarled during the attack, threatening the female leaders with rape.
According to the complaint, SFI leaders assaulted AISF member, A Sahad, without any provocation. While defending the comrade from getting hit, the female leaders were allegedly molested, assaulted and insulted.
The complaint especially lines with the casteist slurs and misogynistic obscenities that were made by the SFI leaders.
In a statement Nimisha gave to the media, she listed the names of those involved in the attack. It included Education Minister V Sivankutty’s personal staff member KM Arun, SFI Ernakulam District President Arsho, District Secretary Amal, and Prajith K Babu. These people led the mob of around 50 people.
“It was a pre-planned attack, they verified the identity of AISF leaders before attacking,” she said.
“My chest is bruised right now with their handprints. They grabbed at my clothes and body, and wouldn’t let go until I forcefully pushed back and shoved them away.”, said Nimisha.
“It was an attack on my womanhood and my dignity as a person when they threatened me with rape and attacked my body. They attacked my identity when they hurled casteist titles at me.”
in the video, an alleged SFI worker is seen kicking Nimisha as she tries to protect one of her friends from a group.
“Behaviour like that of RSS/ABVP”
It was a traumatising incident, she continued. Such are the behaviours expected from RSS or ABVP. I consider SFI workers as my co-workers, but such people are the source of shame to the organisation, she added.
In a post-clash video, Nimisha and a small band of agitated AISF workers are seen confronting the police about the incident, with SFI workers watching from afar.
“Go learn what democracy means, don’t become like the RSS… these are the ways of the RSS, to attack a man in a group. We are contesting here democratically and we will do it again. Shame on all of you, we are not hungry for power as you are,” Nimisha was seen shouting at the SFI group at a distance.
Earlier too, the largest student group in the state has been accused of cracking down dissent groups in Kerala colleges. On many occasions, SFI leaders were caught attacking and threatening opponents.
Student Organisation leaders condemn the attack
“When a woman is attacked, the language used to threaten goes beyond just beating and killing, to include rape. Using rape threats as a way to silence women is a deliberate tactic learnt from the teachings of the Sangh Parivar by the SFI comrades,”, comments Najda Raihan, President of the Fraternity Movement Kerala.
“This incident reflects the hypocrisy of those who talk about democracy while enjoying the privileges of hegemony. It shows the disadvantage of learning politics from upper-caste leaders who fail to understand that democracy is also about cooperation and contribution.”, said Chandhu Lincy.
”They should be reminded that democracy is not aristocratic.”
“I see intelligent, courageous, agile, responsive, and enthusiastic individuals within them. I stand with AISF’s Nimisha, I stand with those who refuse to sell their ideas/identity” posted Fathima Thaliya, former Haritha leader.
Poll results and SFI’s response
AISF leader S Shajo contested in the polls. Congress-backed KSU withdrew from the election protesting threats by the SFI.
Although the two student organisations contested in elections as a coalition in other universities, SFI decided to go solo this time, denying any seats to the AISF.
SFI won all thirty seats in the senate.
SFI claims that AISF is “spreading lies”, and playing the victim for attention. However, evidence from video clips confirms the allegations of the AISF of assault on its workers. SFI, the largest student organisation in Kerala, is notorious for physical attacks on members of other groups.