On the unfortunate night of 2nd March, at about 10 pm, Mudassir Kamran – a PhD scholar – hanged himself to death. Mudassir had some quarrels with his ex-roommate and friend Vaseem. When the issues started getting repetitive, Vaseem lodged a complaint with the proctor of the university hoping he would help sort out the issue within the campus. But instead of taking adequate measures, by looking into the case or providing counselling, the proctor hastily washed the case off his hands.
On 1st March, the day before the tragic incident, Vaseem and Mudassir had a fight, after which Mudassir was called to the proctor’s home. When the proctor started using names which hurt Mudassir’s self-esteem, the two got into a verbal altercation, which the proctor took personally. He took Vaseem to the police station and asked the inspector to arrest Mudassir. The fact that Mudassir was a Kashmiri Muslim – and the implications of sending a person with such an identity to police in the context of recent Hyderabad bomb blasts – was overlooked [or] rather ignored.
Mudassir was detained in the police station, until his friends who heard what happened, came and brought him back to the campus with the help of another professor. It was said that Mudassir was seen in tears while being brought out of the police station; he kept asking whether he was a criminal to be treated thus. The next day passed without much ado, and also without any action from the administration’s side, even after the students demanded the issue to be resolved immediately. That night Mudassir decided that his life was not worth living and chose to end his life.
Ever since that very night, a group of students have been protesting against the administration for their anti-student attitude and the lack of consideration shown towards students belonging to lower castes or minorities. Students belonging to SC/ST/OBC categories are always seen as a burden by many; they are sneered at by the other students for “backdoor entry” without any merit, and teachers mostly tend to forget their existence in the classrooms. They are expected to blend in with the crowd and not raise their voices or heads, even when harassed, insulted or oppressed. If they do, then they are labelled as nuisance and a threat to the “smooth” functioning of college/university.
Like Mudassir, there are 100’s of students coming to these institutions from the lowest strata of society and from the most discriminated areas such as Kashmir. Irrespective of the fact that they have fought all odds to reach here, these institutions mostly fail to recognize their worth. Their merit is often rewarded with discrimination, humiliation, violence and death.
Anil Kumar, Jaspreet Singh, Manish Kumar, Balmukund Bharti, Ajay, Senthil Kumar… The list of names is exhausting. Irrespective of studying in premier institutions like IIT’s, AIIMS, IISc & HCU, they were shown their position in the society. More than these discriminations, the silence of student community and the absence of students’ unity against these injustices is what should disturb us. If the student community accommodates these evils and fails to take any initiative to clean the academic space off these life-taking evils, then tomorrow harbours nothing new from today.
What seems to be a hopeless cry for justice from a bunch of students in EFLU, is but a hope for the academic spaces of India. It is a brave and altruistic advancement from like-minded, justice-loving students to clean our campuses from haunting ghosts of caste and class. This may be small, this may not yield result; but in the end, this will serve as a model for the student community. It will show them as to how students can respond to injustices that continue to exist in our campuses, and what students are capable of. Till the last wall is painted, till the last song of protest is sung and till the last voice fades out, this peaceful fight for justice will roar through the EFLU
File Article , Dated – April 7, 2013