Resist Saffronization of Educational Institutions

Democratic Students Association – DSA Kerala State Reorganizing Committee has issued the following statement.
Rise in Rage!
Dated: 4-02-2022

Democratic Students Association – DSA Kerala State Reorganising Committee protests against the decision of Karnataka State Government and of State Educational Institutions for denying education to hijab ( religious headscarf worn by Muslim girls and women) wearing Muslim students by obstructing their entry to the campus.
The Anti Conversion Bill 2021 and the increase in the rising of attacks on minorities along with the restricting hijab-clad students reflect the Religious intolerance practised by the BJP government of Karnataka State. The theoretical practice of RSS leader Golwaakar’s hate text, “Bunch of Thoughts” can be witnessed here.

India is said to be a secular country theoretically at least on Constitution and Article 25 says “All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health”. The clear violation of Article 14 can also be seen here which says, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth”. There were no rules about the hijab in the college rulebook or the Karnataka state government’s guidelines. The Karnataka state education department has admitted that there is no mandatory uniform for government college students. The decision of the State in denying the right to education of Muslim students based on religion is discriminatory and politically motivated. It also creates mental trauma among students who were not allowed and also creates a gap in the student community.

The Hindutva Organizations are behind the instigation of protests against the Hijab-wearing students whose exams are coming in 2 months. Hindutva organizations with the participation of ABVP, Bajrang Dal and other Neo-Fascist organizations created a division among students and asked Hindu students to wear saffron shawls to protest against the hijab. The false equivalency between hijab and saffron shawls are gimmicks of the authorities to create unrest.
The equality concern of Right-wing groups are fake because of their silence over discriminatory practices on basis of religion by the Judicial system ( Installation of Manu Statue in Rajasthan High Court), Indian Armed forces (Religious war cries and casteist recruitments), hate comments/campaigns against minorities by BJP Central Government Ministers/MP/MLA and hate atrocities against minorities by Police.

Their uproar over uniform code is not for gender equality but just an Islamophobic gimmick supported by BJP Karnataka Government. The root reason for these organizations hatred against minorities is the Hindutva which was coined by Savarkar and celebrated by RSS. Hindutva considers minorities as the internal enemies of the country and forces them to accept the cultural nationalism put forward by RSS which erases the diversity of our country. Karnataka BJP home Minister Araga Jnanendra’s statement in favour of restricting entry that there should be an academic atmosphere for children to develop a culture of national unity and integrity reveals that BJP’s National unity (Hindutva) and integrity is threatened by other beliefs and religious practices.

Already because of the pandemic the students are going through a difficult time mentally and economically and in between this targeting Muslim women students because of their religious identity is outrageous. The digital divide and privatisation of education already restrict the students from marginalised communities to avail equal educational opportunities when compared to the privileged students.

When offline options are available for students, proto Fascist organisations like ABVP comes to communalise Educational Institutions with Saffronisation. Their ancestors used to pour molten lead on the ears of Dalits and now they are trying different ways to obstruct students from marginalised communities to study. The successors of those who opposed Savitri Bhai Phule, Fatima Sheik and Ayyankali from teaching marginalised students are in the form of Right-wing forces who were seen protesting against Muslim girls in Karnataka.

The Ruling class ideas of Hindutva which is also casteist makes it Brahmanic Hindutva has led to suicides and expelling of students and faculties hailing from marginalised communities. Fathima Latif, a victim of Islamophobia in IIT Madras had told her father that her name itself was a problem in IITM. Fatima Latif, Payal Tadvi and Karnataka students are victims of the Islamophobic reality in Indian educational Institutions.

Not only students become the victims of Islamophobia and casteism but also the teachers. Professor Firoz Khan of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) was boycotted by ABVP and RSS for being a Muslim professor teaching Sanskrit. ABVP also forced University official, Mrs Kiran Damle to resign for removing the flag of RSS from the premises of the University. Two Dalit PhD scholars of BHU had accused a woman professor of forcing them to clean a toilet and passing casteist remarks. Rohit Vemula, Deepa P Mohan and Prof. Vipin V. Veetil are a few examples of Saffronisation’s victims. The Islamophobic Brahmanic casteist hindutvaadis are in form of the administration and students.

The recent attack on the religious freedom of students in Karnataka is not an isolated or new incident. In 2017, ABVP members of the government first-grade college in Bhatkal threw saffron shawls at women in burkas and headscarves. The hatred of ABVP and other right-wing organisations are protected, normalised and carried forward with the help of the Government, the Judiciary, the Police and other Social – Cultural Institutions like Educational Institutions. The student community should pledge their support for the students who were restricted and clench fists against the saffronisation of educational institutions.

Democratic Students Association demands the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to look at the issue and take necessary disciplinary actions against the authorities who obstructed the Muslim girls.
DSA calls upon all Democratic voices to rally against the Brahmanic Hindutva Fascists who are keen on teaching Islamophobia and Casteism instead of Scientific and Quality Education free to all!

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