Kis Kis Ko Qaid Karoge!
Cultural Activists of Kabir Kala Manch and Republican Panthers in Delhi University
Join the Delhi University Community against Police Repression
on the 6th of November (Wednesday)
in the Arts Faculty Lawns
at 12 noon
for performances by Kabir Kala Manch, the cultural team of the Republican Panthers, and other cultural organisations.
Ashok Bhowmick, painter
Nandita Narain, DUTA President
Sanjay Kak, filmmaker
Ranjit Verma, poet
Achyutanand Mishra, poet
Karen Gabriel, DU teacher
G N Saibaba, DU teacher
Abha Dev Habib, EC Member DU
Arjumand Ara, DU teacher
Sanjay Joshi, filmmaker JSM
Voices of protest never sit well with the establishment. But the music takes root in the hearts and minds of those living the reality of struggles against oppression. Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) and the cultural team of the Republican Panthers are two revolutionary Dalit cultural groups from Maharashtra who have actively taken up the call of the oppressed in fighting caste and class injustice armed with self-composed songs, poems, and cultural performances. These weapons of cultural expression are the reason they have been targeted by the state, their activists charged with sedition, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, and continue to languish in jail for years. After KKM’s Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle were arrested in 2011 along with five other activists, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali were arrested in April 2013. Soon after that, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, and Rupali Jadhav also courted arrest for being wanted by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). When songs of dissent are enough to criminalize activists of Kabir Kala Manch and the Republican Panthers, when rallying Dalits against caste oppression is enough to keep Sudhir Dhawale in jail without trial for years, where Narendra Dabholkar pays with his life for consistently speaking against superstition, it comes as no surprise that the state that produced Jyotiba Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar is now infamous for using the law, judiciary and the police to brand those who speak up against the establishment as terrorists.
This kind of targeting is mirrored across the country. Time and again, cultural activists have been targeted by the state for being able to reach out to a wide section of society through their art and activism. Jeetan Marandi, a well known adivasi cultural activist from Jharkhand, was incarcerated for years pending death penalty for writing about people’s movements and was only recently acquitted by the High Court, Utpal Bhaske, another adivasi cultural activist was recently picked up from Ranchi for speaking about people’s issues, Lenin, an artist and writer from Orissa, was arrested for participating in anti-displacement struggles, and most recently Hem Mishra, a cultural activist and student of JNU, was arbitrarily arrested, tortured for three days, accused of being a ‘Naxal courier’ and is now being charged with a range of cases because he stood with those resisting state oppression. Anti-displacement activist Ispat Hembram in Jharkhand, prominent women’s activist of democratic movements like Jayeeta Das in West Bengal, and other such activists continue to languish in jails on similar trumped up charges. Dr. GN Saibaba, a teacher in the University of Delhi, was threatened with arrest even as his university residence was raided by motley of state and central police and intelligence officials. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the police under the garb of a vigilante group brutally murdered people’s leader and activist Ganti Prasadam for leading local struggles for land and livelihood and rallying people against the state led war on people codenamed Operation Green Hunt. By targeting social and cultural activists, the state intends to silence the voices that expose the bonds that tie the interests of the high caste, ruling elite with big business and corporations. The state and the corporations thrive by exploiting the poor, the marginalized and by subjugating those asserting their rights. By oppressing the poor, landless labourers, by disenfranchising and persecuting Dalits, adivasis, minorities, and women socially, economically and politically, the interest of the ruling class is preserved. And thus, the state has and will continue to use all means at its disposal to suppress voices speaking against the feudal, castist, communal, corporate nexus.
Within the University of Delhi, this selective targeting of students, intellectuals and organisations has been clear over the last few years. The DU administration, using the Delhi Police as its right-arm, systematically suppresses protests by the university community with brutal force. The unwarranted use of water cannons and lathi-charge against students protesting the embodiment of communal-fascism Modi’s visit to the university, the subsequent filing of an FIR against students and teachers for protesting the excessive violence of the police, the use of police to beat up and disperse students protesting denial of UGC mandated scholarships, the brutal attack on students protesting lack of accommodation, and the continuous heavy deployment of police within the university campus space at all times clearly reflects the fascist nature of the state and the university today. At the same time, the struggle against the Four Year Under-Graduate Programme (FYUP) recognized the systemic discrimination the FYUP perpetuates through the exit point system that privileges the high castes and the elite sections of society even as seats reserved for SC/ST/OBC are flouted at every step within the university. The roster system adopted by the university explicitly disadvantages the Dalits and minority sections applying for jobs as teachers in DU. When prejudice finds such deep roots within the university and in society, it is up to us to recognize it, remain united and weed it out of the system. If songs of resistance are hard to hear for this communal-fascist state, let us sing louder and in one voice – kis kis ko qaid karoge!
DELHI UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY AGAINST POLICE REPRESSION