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#India – Can you join Kranti (Revolution) – to reclaim the Culture of Dissent #mustshare

Kranti is a loosely co-ordinated student platform that was originally started by a few students from NLSIU Bangalore. As of now, we have students from Cuttack, Mysore, Bombay, Pune and Kolkata who are pitching in to organize film screenings and other events. The primary object of this initiative is to encourage students to move away from an understanding of politics as limited to the electoral process and try and perceive it anew as being constituted by myriad people’s struggles.

Recently in Pune, a team of friends from FTII and a student group Yugpath who are working with Kranti had organized a screening and discussion of Jai Bhim Comrade with Anand Patwardhan, followed by the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch in two years. As has been widely reported, the organizers were attacked after the event by goons from the ABVP. When we heard about this attack, two of the members of the team working in Bangalore on Kranti travelled to Pune in solidarity and with the goal of offering what little help we could as law students. The protest march in response to this attack was sought to be suppressed by the police with reports of a possible ABVP attack on the march itself and by the refusal of permission by the authorities. However, 200 students in Pune defiantly declared and conducted a silent protest march on August 26, 2013. A critical part of this experience was the manner in which the Pune Municipal Corporation Workers Union extended its support to this protest and enabled it, an unexpected but inspiring alliance between non-politically aligned student groups and a worker union. This fact inspires because, to us, it is an example of the possibility if a new politics for our future.

On September 7, 2013, Kranti has planned an event, the Songs of Protest in Bangalore city. Here, we shall stage performances by Kabir Kala Manch, Tamil Nadu dalit and tribal organization Makkal Mandram and the indefatigable Sambhaji Bhagat. This event was planned before the Pune event was conceptualized. Even as we confirmed it a month ago, we were clear as to the political implications of daring to offer a platform to the Manch. After the Pune attack, we feel more compelled to offer this opportunity to Kabir Kala Manch, to expose people outside Maharashtra to the struggle they face. While we refuse to be cowed down by the possibility of another attack on the platform by right-wing fascists, we write on this platform seeking support. The Songs of Protest is followed by Reel Revolution on the 8th of September (showcasing the project Word Sound Power and the art of Anand Patwardhan) and culminates on the 15th of September with the Dissent Conference.

From the very beginning, the simple fact that we decided to call ourselves ‘Kranti’ has made many potential collaborators uneasy. Especially after the Pune attack and the increased consciousness of how shamelessly political we have chosen to be, our sponsors are pulling out and event spaces have cancelled on us.

These three events put together have a total budget of about Rs. 3 lakhs. Out of this, we have been compelled to take a loan on our personal accounts of up to Rs. 2 lakhs and have as of now been able to raise close to a lakh rupees. Kranti itself is not affiliated to any NGOs and has refused to solicit funds from corporate (not that they’d give us any!). Educational institutions have shied away from enabling this campaign because of the political position we have chosen to take.

Here, we make a sincere request to all progressive persons who believe that it is important for students of India to resurrect political discussion amongst students outside of the student wings of political parties: Please support us, be it by way of donating funds (even if in small amounts as Rs. 5000/- and also note that our institution has been kind enough to enable 80G Tax exemption certificates for donations routed through its accounts), by putting us in touch with resource person and spaces which would like to guide us and enable us (for example, make it easier for us to reach media or help us by offering auditoriums at reduced prices) or in any other way that you can imagine.

 

Prem Ayyathurai and Sahana Manjesh

Kranti (Bangalore)

Read more about Kranti, herehere and here.

Our Facebook page is here.

You can contact us on phone on the following numbers – Prem: 09743160640 and Sahana: 09886453418.

Join us in our journey as we discover and reclaim the culture of dissent. Spread the word about us. You can also contribute by organising events in solidarity with us, or through small donations. If you wish to know more, we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us at +91 9886453418/9743160640 or write to us at [email protected]
Twitter: @KrantiFest

 

 

 

 

 

Dissent, in society, has deep roots in artistic expression. At Kranti, we realised that the most powerful way to understand the social movements of the oppressed in India was to listen to its music. On the 7th of September, Kranti showcases the music and performances of three names that have come to be identified as the voices of the oppressed –

the fearless Kabir Kala Manch,

the indomitable Lokshahir Sambhaji Bhagat

Sspirited Tamil tribal and Dalit organisation Makkal Mandram.

 

 

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The ABVP attack on FTII students has only strengthened our resolve #KrantiFest

Sahana Manjesh On August 27, 2013 

Kranti

I had an elaborate post as a follow-up to the previous one. But events that have unfolded in Pune in the past few days have compelled me to write this one instead.

Kranti is being set up by a core team that is based in Bangalore and Mysore. We reach out to students in different cities and hope for the germ of the idea to develop. The idea is to reclaim the culture of dissent. Movie screenings and street plays have been chosen methods. In Pune though, our friends at FTII went a step further. Not only did they organize the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s powerful tale about Dalit politics, Jai Bhim Comrade, they followed this up with a music performance by the Kabir Kala Manch. This event was organized on the 21st of August, on the day after the murder of anti-superstition activist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar in Pune.

The Kabir Kala Manch is a cultural troupe that considers both Marx and Ambedkar as their inspiration. Singers and poets who form part of this group sing songs on caste atrocities, communalism, female rights and other social issues. Accused of being the cultural front of Maoists in India, they have faced trial, prison and more. Earlier this year, some of those arrested were released on bail, while some others have not been so fortunate. The performance on the 21st was their first in two years. The Kabir Kala Manch has been made so untouchable, that there is fear in being associated with them. FTII students however wished to give them a platform and were prepared to face the consequences. Yet, what they had to face was shocking. ABVP activists used this event as an excuse to spread their brand of violence and terror. Five students of the FTII were attacked by twelve ABVP members, at the close of the event. Not saying Jai Narendra Modi is apparently sufficient to be called a naxal these days.

In the aftermath of the attack, the FTII Students Association started planning a response to this – culturally, legally and politically. They filed an FIR, set to work on a rally to condemn the attack, and sent out statements to media spaces and organisations. Solidarity has come pouring in, said our friends at FTII. From phone calls which assured them that they were not alone, to rallies in other cities on their behalf, to online campaigns in condemnation of the incident, a moment of great beauty was created in the midst of this chaos. The Kranti team also reached Pune in solidarity, to help with what little we could. In the discussion that ensued with the team leading the campaign at FTII, it became clear that their rage was not merely at this attack. It was also not limited to the condemnation of the attack on their free expression. They wanted to make a larger political statement against growing right-wing fascist forces in India that have gone largely unchallenged. And they were not scared of saying this.

And that truly is the important and lasting message that this moment must drive home. Countless instances of mindless violence have shocked us time and again. Intolerance towards movies that question caste, art that redefines our gods, women who assert their individuality or people who transgress religious boundaries are all reflective of a deeper social trend in the country. Of a growing right-wing ideology which not only believes in its righteousness, but also asserts it violently. It is an ideology that is flourishing in Indian electoral politics as much as it is in our social fabric.

The response to such fascism is not to tolerate it as an inevitable outcome of a degenerate time, or to excuse it in the name of a weak opposition. The response to it is to challenge it, head-on, lest we be guilty of complicity. And the FTII Students Association did just that. They planned to take out a rally on the 26th starting from their college and ending at the Omkareshwar Bridge (where Dr. Dabholkar had been assassinated). And since they are students of art, they wanted to make this a beautiful protest with street theatre and songs and posters with art on them. They learnt old songs like le mashale chal pade haihum log hai aise deewane,tu zinda hai and made new ones to fit the occasion. The spirit of rebellion on campus in the run up to the rally was truly heady.

But on the eve of the rally, the students received a letter from the local police station denying them permission to take out the rally. Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act which empowers the police to maintain public order was cited. In fact, the students were informed that there was a threat of another attack on them. This is a similar letter some of us had received almost a year ago when organizing a slutwalk in Bangalore – the fear of attack, means no permission to expression. Such a threat must mean more protection, and not a direction to be afraid, argued the FTII students. Instead of buckling under the fear created by this response of the police, they decided to continue with the rally, even if it were “illegal”. I cannot stress this enough, but this is a decision that must make students of this country very proud, for it is not every day that you come by students who are willing to stake their safety for the sake of their ideals. Some of these students already have an FIR filed against them by the ABVP after being attacked, and they were still prepared to go on the rally.

On the morning of the 26th, the students called a press meet in which they declared their intention to continue with the rally, despite even the commissioner of police not permitting it. At 4 PM, students from FTII stepped out of their gates, ready to face consequences but cautious all the same. One of the organisers told me thereafter that when they saw over 200 students from other colleges waiting outside the gates to join them, any fear they had melted away. They were going to do this. If there was no permission to walk the street, they’d sing and dance and act and speak outside FTII itself. There were enough police vans to bundle them all up and take them into police custody, but the students did not buckle. In a gesture of solidarity, one which I hope to see replicated more often, Mukta Manohar of the Pune Corporation Workers’ Union spoke with the commissioner of police and ensured that the students finally had the permission to walk to their destination. The director of FTII also joined his students as they walked silently, in what turned out to be a peaceful rally.

The audacity to defy law comes not from the disrespect towards it but from a deeper obligation towards that which is just. A romantic idealism no doubt, but a strong and necessary weapon against intolerance all the same. Students in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad also organized events in solidarity. And this is only the beginning. Consolidating these efforts in the time to come is an urgent task for all of us who wish to oppose growing fascist tendencies in the right-wing. Through our art, our words, our politics, our work and our everyday interactions with the people and structures around us, we have the power to form a terribly necessary counter-movement to such intolerance.

Kranti’s bigger events are round the corner, and the moment could not have been more momentous for them. Our culture is our politics, and to use that as our weapon is our strategy. On the 7th of September we host Kabir Kala Manch, Sambhaji Bhagat and Makkal Mandram for an evening of protest music. On the 8th, we have an interesting event we call Reel Revolution with two diverse artists – Anand Patwardhan and Delhi Sultanate. While Mr. Patwardhan will do a retrospective of his work and explain his evolution as a political film maker, Delhi Sultanate will present the Word Sound Powerproject. This is a project that is chic and political all at once, where dancehall and Bant Sing and tribal music from Odisha all coming together. Come join us if you are in Bangalore, or watch it online if you are not. Reclaim the right to dissent, FTII style – bravely, madly.

 

 

Sahana is a graduate of NLSIU, Class of ’13. She will soon be joining the chambers of Jawahar Raja and Rajat Kumar to practice in Delhi. The event on the 7th of September shall be held at Ravindra Kalakshetra and starts at 4 PM. The one on the 8th of Setptember shall be held in the Mt. Carmel Auditorium and starts at 10 AM. You can visit this Facebook page for more details or write in at kranticonference[email protected] or contact the organisers at +919886453418.

 

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#India – FTII students get nationwide backing against ABVP attack

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013, 2:52 IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Institutes such as the Hyderabad University, National Institute of Design, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute lend their support to the protest

Students of FTII take out a protest rally on Monday

Students of FTII take out a protest rally on Monday – Pratham Gokhale/DNA

Students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who refused to take the attack on them on August 21 lying down and continued protests via social media, have now got support from various people throughout the country.

On August 21, members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) allegedly attacked a few FTII students and members of theatre group Kabir Kala Manch calling them Naxalites. The students had organised KKM’s performance followed by a screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Jai Bhim Comrade, in memory of Dr Narendra Dabholkar.

The National School of Drama in New Delhi announced that they would organise a protest rally to Jantar Mantar in solidarity with the FTII students. “We condemn the violence against freedom of expression. We are doing our best to show our support,” said JA Regin Rose, president of the NSD Student’s Union.
Students unions at many educational institutes such as the Hyderabad University, Ahmedabad’s National Institute of Design, Kolkata’s Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, LV Prasad Film and TV Academy and the Jan Sanskriti Manch have come out openly to support the FTII students. Members of the film fraternity too have lent support to the stir.

The alumni organisation of the FTII, GraFTII, has also expressed their concern at the increasing manifestation of intolerance in the country. Former chairman of the FTII, UR Ananthamurthy said, “No creativity will be possible if we allow such intolerance. It is a shame that a group of young men have reacted so violently.”
Anand Gandhi, the director of renowned film Ship of Theseus, came out in full support  and said, “Let’s keep the dialogue alive, no matter what the threat is.”

Despite opposition, FTII students go ahead, take out silent march

Students association of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on Monday carried out a protest rally from their campus on Law College Road to the Omkareshwar Bridge, where Narendra Dabholkar was murdered. The march of solidarity, as they called it, was initially deemed unnecessary by the police and the students were denied permission. However, the student body decided to bypass the order and started their march. The police stopped them at the gate and the protestors sat down and started the proceedings.

Students demanded a freedom of expression, a freedom from fear of being attacked for expressing opinions and also appealed citizens to show some unity, solidarity and compassion.

Taking a neutral stand, DJ Narain, the director of FTII said, “We are supporting the students in the legal aspect in terms of the event that happened on August 21. However we cannot give them permission to go through with the rally unless the police give them a nod.”

The police,  after long discussion, granted permission and the students embarked on their route with utmost discipline. With black bands covering their mouths and all their slogans and demands written on placards, they led a silent march from Law College road to Omkareshwar bridge, where they observed a one-minute silence in the memory of Narendra Dabholkar.

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‘They asked to say ‘Jai Narendra Modi’ before thrashing us’

Kabir Kala Manch performance Fracas

FTII director holds meeting with student union, files complaint with CP

 Jahnvi Sreedhar, Pune Mirror

'˜They asked to say '˜Jai Narendra Modi' before thrashing us'

I haven’t told my family in Chennai about the intensity of the incident, or about the police case. I don’t want them to get worried,” said Sriram Raja, the third-year editing student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who was among the five students attacked by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) outside the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) following a performance by the Kabir Kala Manch(KKM), on Wednesday.

Kislay Tiwari, another victim of the ABVP attack, said, “The scuffle started around 8:45pm, when the event concluded. They began calling KKM a naxalite body. We asked them to stop, but when they continued with their tirade, the NFAI security asked us to leave the premises due to the ruckus.

As soon as we got out of NFAI, Ajayan Adat was surrounded and attacked. The rest of us tried to save him, during which Sriram got badly injured.”

Adat added, “Before I was attacked, the ABVP people shouted ‘Jai Narendra Modi bol’. When I refused, they started beating me up.” Apart from Raja, Adat and Kisley, Ansar Shah and Shamin Kulkarni were also beaten up. While Raja received injuries to the head, the others got off with minor bruises.

On Thursday, FTII director D J Narin met with student union members and for around 40 minutes, before landing up at Commissioner of Police Gulabrao Pol’s office to file an official complaint. Narin has also issued a media release, demanding stringent action by the city police against such acts.

“As a cultural institution it’s our duty and right to encourage free flow of creativity, thought and ideology. We have demanded that the FTII administration lodge an official police complaint. The student union  will meet again to finalise details of our rally, planned for Friday or Saturday,” Kislay, a former union president, said.

He added that there had been considerable pressure following the murder on August 20 of activist Narendra Dabholkar from various quarters to cancel the screening of Jai Bhim Comrade on Wednesday. “We, however, insisted that in the light of Dabholkar’s murder, the film should be screened,” Kislay said.

The FTII media release, which condemned the incident, said, “This incident would not be seen in isolation and we are increasingly witnessing that any individual or organisation that takes an opinion contrary to the mainstream, is labeled as anti-national, and all efforts are taken to intimidate them which can also amount to murder, especially looking at the recent case of Dr Narendra Dabolkar.”

 http://www.punemirror.in/pune/cover-story/They-asked-to-say-Jai-Narendra-Modi-before-thrashing-us/articleshow/31272878.cms
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FTII attack – the larger student movement against right wing elements #mustshare

 

Five students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were attacked in the premises of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) Pune on Wednesday, 21 August by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The attack took place soon after the screening of filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Jai Bhim Comrade and the performance of Kabir Kala Manch at NFAI. The programme was organized by the FTII student’s body in association with Yugpath, a youth forum based in Pune. This was the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch after two and a half years.

Two of the FTII students recount the incident.


For nearly three months now, a few students from NLSIU Bangalore have been working on a concept of a festival ambitiously named Kranti. Rooted in an academic space where conferences implied academic discussions over positivistic legal issues, we decided to commit ourselves to a conference that would curate the politics of dissent which are setting powerful but invisible undertones of India’s political processes. We wanted to replace academics who would speak of peoples’ movements with grassroot organizers who would share their experiences. Reclaiming Dissent was how we succinctly put the spirit behind Kranti.

Our audience was to be urban students who, like ourselves, were born into a ‘liberalised’ India and the object was to encourage us to question the received wisdom about what constitutes politics – shift the focus away from electoral politics to peoples’ movements. Over the weeks of work that went into thrashing out the idea of the conference we realised it was impossible to begin speaking of reclaiming dissent by narrowing our conversation to a conference. The concept of Kranti evolved rapidly; what it became was a result of the documentaries we had watched, the songs we’d sung and the internships we’d experienced. The politics of dissent, we had come to realize, had a rich tradition in this nation, a tradition that we had grown up entirely unaware of.

Driven by this realization, we started to reach out to students in different cities. We travelled to Mysore, Bombay and Pune and started speaking to the students we knew. The germ of an idea was in our experience of a powerful screening of Jai Bhim Comrade with Anand Patwardhan in Bangalore in July, 2012. We also wanted to subvert the idea of mass-mobilisation of students a la Anna Hazare, that revolution could never have been built over the course of a few months but would require years of conversations. We wanted to say that it was possible to stitch together a loose coalition of students across the country who would be open to setting up documentary screenings, discussions and street theatre and compel student audiences to respond to the ideas we sought to throw up.

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have confirmed screenings of a variety of political films in colleges in Bombay, Pune, Mysore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cuttack, Jodhpur, Kolkata and Bangalore.

By early August, we confirmed what would be our biggest coup till then – a platform called the Songs of Protest where we would bring together artists like Sambhaji Bhagat, Makkal Mandram and Kabir Kala Manch. We started sharing this news with the students who had already begun to show solidarity with the efforts of Kranti when Sahil Bhattad, one of the members of a Pune-based youth platform called Yugpath, jumped at the opportunity. In the ensuing days, the FTII Students’ Association and Yugpath moved rapidly and set up a screening of Jai Bhim Comrade with Anand Patwardhan, followed by the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch in the city after being accused of participating in Naxal activities. What is critical to note was that in the cultural capital of Maharashtra, it was not the rich array of artistic platforms that extended this support to the Kabir Kala Manch but a loose alliance between student groups who are not politically affiliated with any party.

The event was declared for the 21st of August, 2013. On the morning of the 20th, we woke up to a deeply disturbing report from Pune – the assassination of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. Even as we began to put our thoughts into order, few of us wondered whether right wing parties would stoop to the political opportunism of declaring a bandh in response to this act of violence. We watched, aghast, as they lived down to our expectations. Frantic calls between Bangalore and Pune lead to a single, solemn resolve – we would go ahead with the event in defiance of this call for bandh. Of all things, we wouldn’t allow fascists to lay a claim on the man’s memory.

Numerous reports have been put out about the manner in which the day panned out. The moment we heard about the confrontation, we packed our bags left for Pune. Even as we write this note, numerous drafts of the statements of FTII association, Yugpath as well as Kranti are being hammered out.  Whereas Pune has seen incidences in the past where ABVP’s threats were taken seriously enough to cancel screenings of Jashn-e-Azadi, here was a moment where students refused to buckle down under the pressure of the impunity with which these fascist organizations operate. True, this had to come at the cost of physical assaults; but the tide of these anti-democratic forces must be stemmed and they must be stemmed now. Students across the country have been assaulted.

Attacks on girls in pubs, cancellation of screenings of political documentaries like Jashn-e-Azadi, assaults on couples who choose to enter inter-religious relationships, vandalism iAdd Median churches and mosques; all of these constitute different chapters in the narrative of right-wing fascism. This is a narrative that has long gone unchallenged. We, the youth of today, must speak up lest we be guilty of complicity.

Contact: [email protected]

Link to event: https://www.facebook.com/KrantiReclaimingDissentConference

Prem Ayyathurai and Sahana Manjesh

 

 

 

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Punyanagari (The Virtuous City) #ABVP #FTII

Pune, Aug 22. Last night a FTII and Yugpath student organized screening of “Jai Bhim Comrade” began with a tribute to anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar, who had just the previous day been gunned down by fanatics in the same city. It was our 4th screening of the film at the FTII and as before, the large NFAI auditorium was overflowing. The screening and discussions went off without a hitch. Not a single audience question led me to suspect that Hindutva elements were in attendance. In fact I am always happy to get questions from opposite sides of the political spectrum as I believe that such debates and discussions benefit everyone and are precisely the function of the kind of cinema I believe in.

As the film and discussion ended, some audience members left but more poured in for the next event – the first stage appearance of members of the Kabir Kala Manch in over two years. It was of course a depleted KKM. Accused by the State of associating with Naxalites, three of their main singers and poets are still in jail awaiting trial. Last month Sheetal Sathe, their charismatic lead singer/poet was granted bail but was unavailable having just delivered a baby. Barring Deepak Dengle, other KKM members who are out of prison, were not lead singers but part of the chorus or the support team. As Jyoti Jagtap said to the audience in her introduction: “We are not trained musicians from the Gwalior gharana, or the Jaipur or Agra gharanas. We are working class youth from the basti, factory and farm-labour gharanas. We won’t be able to deliver the perfect note or play the perfect instrument but if you listen to our words, I am confident that what we have to say will be of interest.”
KKM lived upto its promise. They began with a song they dedicated to the memory of Narendra Dabholkar. It was the Ambedkar inspired song against superstition “Amhi Devhara Bajula Saarlay” (We have set aside all our gods). Following this was a rousing anti-nuclear song on Jaitapur, then the moving “Sau” an ode to Savitribai Phule and concluding with the defiant: “Kabir wants to break his shackles to dance and sing. Let him dance and sing !”

The entire audience was captivated. People were elated and milled around in the NFAI premises for a long time afterwards. Some students sent for chai, others wanted to take group photos. Suddenly I saw Deepak Dengle surrounded by an animated group of about a dozen people. After a while we realized that this group was hostile and we pulled Deepak away to have tea rather than allow an argument to escalate. The group now took their wrath out on FTII students. A single plain-clothes policeman at the site seemed completely disinclined to stop the aggression. Suddenly the group revealed its identity by chanting ABVP slogans and shouting “Down with Naxalites”. Out of nowhere orange flags and sticks appeared and began to be brandished. Finally as people walked away from them the group seemed to disperse and we got on with our tea and photos. But the group had merely retreated into the darkness and not dispersed. Outside the NFAI compound they physically attacked and injured 5 FTII students, one of whom was hospitalized with a head injury that needed stitches. Concerned with the safety of KKM, the students escorted them out and they all reached home safely.

So ended KKM’s first stage reappearance in over two years. It will be recalled that a few months ago 2 KKM members were jailed overnight at Taloja for singing songs at a protest march against a builder who had usurped a pilgrimage site connected with the working class Saint Tukaram. The police claimed they had sung “Naxalite” songs. The songs in question happened to be composed by the legendary Ambedkarite poet Vamandada Kardak. A pattern of suppression seems to be emerging. By branding them as Naxalites the State has succeeded in creating a tag which even a court judgment in favour of KKM may not remove. When they emerge from jail they will be followed and harassed either by the police or by right-wing vigilantes.

Another pattern is emerging. Two days ago “unknown” gunmen killed Narendra Dabholkar in broad daylight. No right-wing group has taken credit. All the vociferous opponents of Dabholkar from the mainstream BJP and Shiv Sena to the lunatic fringe of the Hindu right, deny all responsibility. Yes we opposed him they admit, but no, we did not kill him. Last night at least the ABVP was not shy to announce who they were. This is of course easier to do when you can paint your opponents as anti-national Naxalites. Earlier Dabholkar too was branded as a Naxalite in some quarters. The non-violent anti-nuclear protestors in Kudankulam have been called Naxalites as have been people connected with Medha Patkar. Naxalites are now entering our cities, scream the newspapers. They will soon be pouring out from our taps.

Anand Patwardhan
August 22, 2013

 

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PRESS RELEASE- FTII students’ statement on the attack on them by the ABVP in Pune

Students’ Association

Film and Television Institute of India,

Law College Road,

Pune: 411004

 

 

FTII Students’ Association Press Release,  22/08/13

 

Five students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were attacked outside of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) on Wednesday 21/08/13 by the Akhila Bharateeya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP)

 

The attack took place soon after the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s documentary Jai Bheem Comrade and the performance of Kabir Kala Manch at NFAI. The programme was organized by the FTII student’s body in association with Yugpath, a youth forum based in Pune. This was the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch after two and a half years.

 

The five students attacked are Shameen a second year cinematography student, Ansar Sha a third year cinematography student,  Kislay a third year Editing student, Sriram Raju also a third year Editing student and Ajayan a third year Sound student.

 

The screening of the documentary and the performance by Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) was finalized two weeks ago. There was a request to cancel the programme from various quarters respecting the call for bandh as a mark of protest against the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dhabolkar. But Yugpath and the FTII student’s body decided to stick to their plan and go ahead with the screening and performance as a mark of respect and homage to Mr. Dhabolkar.

 

Around 12 ABVP members, who entered NFAI around 5pm, were waiting outside the NFAI premises for almost three hours.  As soon as the Kabir Kala Manch Members finished their performance, the ABVP members started interrogating the FTII students and verbally accusing them of indulging in anti-national activities by calling KKM to perform in public. The FTII students’ association members retorted by saying that, we all are aware that KKM is a cultural organization and we support their performances which are anti-caste and superstition.

 

Hearing this the ABVP members started shouting slogans – as “Bharat Maata Ki Jai” “Vande Mataram” and “Down down Naxals.” One of the ABVP members slapped an FTII student, after which  some of the other students intervened and started to cool down the situation. The ABVP then ceaselessly went on shouting slogans and took out their Orange flags that they had hidden all this while.

 

Looking at the tense situation within the NFAI premises, FTII students started walking outside the NFAI gate. The ABVP volunteers followed them, and as soon as the students were outside the gate around 12 ABVP volunteers attacked 4 students with the wooden base of their flags, and one student was hit on the head with a helmet. He was taken to the hospital and got a few stitches on his head.

 

Before the event was about to begin one police person in plain clothes was investigating the people behind this event. Later we saw the same person was mingling with the ABVP members outside the NFAI premises. And when the students were being beaten by the ABVP, they shouted for police help, but the man didn’t do anything and was just a mute spectator.

The FTII Students Association has filed a complaint against the ABVP at Prabhat Police station.

 

 

We as students of FTII don’t see this event as a stray incident. It is a much larger narrative of the rise of authoritarianism and its continuous efforts in curbing the freedom of speech and expression. Students Association of FTII is not affiliated with any political party. We are artists and filmmakers who believe in freedom of self expression through the medium of films, music and theatre. Attacking anyone who is expressing their thoughts through these media is highly condemnable. We are increasingly witnessing that any individual or organization that takes an opinion that is contrary to the mainstream, is labeled as anti-national and all efforts are taken to intimidate them which can also amount to murder,  especially looking at the recent case of Dr. Narendra Dabolkar. What is more harrowing is the complete numbness of the state regarding these atrocities, where police personnel despite being present at the situations did not take any action.

 

We therefore demand quick action against the ABVP so that incidents like these do not occur again. We are also planning to hold a protest march against incidents like these which various cultural institutions are increasing facing.

 

For further information –

FTII Students’ Contact

Kislay : 9049479725

Ajayan: 7588478227

Samvartha:  8805789887

Shaaz: 9049060772

 

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ABVP activists ‘beat up’ students of FTII for inviting KKM artistes #WTFnews

Express news service : Pune, Thu Aug 22 2013,
PuneThe police with injured FTII student Shriram Raja at Joshi Hospital

The National Film Archives of India (NFIA) on Wednesday evening witnessed a ruckus as a group ABVP activists allegedly thrashed students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) for inviting the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) artistes for a performance. The programme was to pay homage to the slain anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar. The incident took place despite a police bandobast for the programme.

FTII students said the ABVP opposed KKM artistes claiming they have Naxal links. ABVP members however claimed that FTII students attacked their activists first. Four FTII students were reportedly injured in the incident. The ABVP said two of its activists too were injured.

According to injured FTII students the incident took place at 9 pm and the police were present at the spot. But they did not come to help. Both FTTI students and ABVP activists were preparing to file complaints. Senior Police Inspector Manohar Joshi of Deccan police station said he will be look into the matter.

An injured FTTI student, Ajayan Adat, said, “We had organised a programme to pay homage to Dr Dabholkar. As part of it, we had screened a documentary film Jai Bhim Comrade by Anand Patwardhan at NFIA. It was followed by an interaction with Patwardhan and a performance by KKM artistes.”

“We didn’t know ABVP persons were around. After the programme was over, they questioned us for inviting KKM. They claimed that KKM artistes are Naxals. As the argument heated up, we asked the KKM artistes and their supporters to leave. But the ABVP persons shouted slogans “ABVP Zindabad” and “Naxalwadi Bhag Jao” and then attacked us. One of our students, Shriram Raja suffered head injury. We all have come to the Joshi Hospital for treatment. The attackers were carrying ABVP flags,” said Adat.

Vivekanand Ujalambkar, ABVP Pune unit secretary said, “Some of our activists had gone to NFAI to watch the programme. After the programme, our activists heard a youth at the spot saying that he was proud to be a Naxal. This led to an argument. Our activists questioned the FTII students. But they started beating up our activists. Two of our activists were injured. One is being treated at Prayag Hospital.”

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Girls harrassed by Maurice Nagar police at anti-Modi protests in DU #Vaw

English: Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Guja...

English: Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, India, speaks during the welcome lunch at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit 2008 in New Delhi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On 6th of February, there was a large protest against the invitation of and talk by Narendra Modi by SRCC Students Union, organised by various students groups and individuals. The road in front of SRCC had 3 rows of barricades on each side, some of which were subsequently broken. The Delhi police was extremely vicious in their handling of the situation, and were both highly sexist and communal. They passed lewd comments about women standing near the barricade, made kissing gestures and noises, asked women to come closer and talk to them. They also very openly stared and laughed at women in a way that was clearly sexual. When a woman student demanded that women police officers be present at the barricade as well to confront women students, she was told ‘aap aurat kahaan se hain’. Women were also told repeatedly to give up as they’re too weak to break barricades. Some women were told that they should stop protesting or they would be meted the same treatment as women in Gujarat in 2002. At the police station, women students were groped and felt up by the police when they tried to enter.

In addition to this the police also detained 8 protestors. ABVP students were allowed on the other side of the barricade, one even climbed the water cannon, but none of them were detained. This was despite them threatening students, particularly women, by saying things like “jo gujrat ke aurton ka haal kiya wohi tera hoga”. The police, after lathi charging students, laughing and joking as they did so, went on to drag students and throw them in the middle of ABVP and RSS activists, where they were further beaten up. 

They were attacked by both ABVP goons and the police, who were supporting each other. The police were particularly obnoxious, whistling and winking at the female students (who were also groped at the Thana) and beating them (and the boys) up sadistically with lathis in addition to water cannons. The ABVP threatened them with Gujarat-like consequences – “Jo Gujarat mein huya vaise tujh me ghusa doonga” while brandishing a stick and similar things. Meanwhile the police were watching and laughing at the girls and other protestors and saying things like “kar le jo karna hai, kya lar payegi” and openly supporting the ABVP students, who were even dancing on the water cannons as they aimed at the protestors. The worst is that they would pick up some of the protestors (including young women) and push them into a crowd of ABVP goons who would then beat them. Some protestors were picked up and taken to the police station, and beaten up on the way (including on the head and groin with lathis). NONE of this shocking stuff is coming out in any of the news reports.

 

 

 

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Moral Policing on Valentine’s Day

14th Feb, 2012 -A woman police constable punishes a young couple as they were celebrating Valentines Day in Dhanbad. PTI

Activists of ABVP burn the greeting cards during a protest against Valentine’s Day celebrations in Hyderabad.
– AP PHOTO/ MAHESH KUMAR A.

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