Just got back from Cherlappally central jail with Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, Prameela Kp Salman and Pramod, with an aching and exhausted body from all the non stop running around, panic, distress, sleeplessness and endless discussions and conversations in the last 90 plus hours.
Well, today at least amidst everything, I am relieved and happy for getting to meet our friends and faculties for the first time after they got detained.
At Cherlappally central jail, they also seemed so happy and energized to see us. We talked through the 2 sets of iron bars that kept us apart.They joked about how they were called anti-nationals and got threatened of booking under ‘seduction charges’ while being beaten up in custody.
Muslim students were singled out and were beaten brutally by police who were calling them ‘pakistanis’ and ‘terrorists’. They said the police men in vans were passing obscene comments on female students from campus for trying to save male students from violence. They were beaten up on their way to custody, from police station and after remand, on the way to jail as well.
Documentary film maker Moses Tulasi’s friends have been calling and texting me for news on him since last 3 days. This is especially to them. I met him today at Cherlappally jail and he seems good in spirit. His mother also was there to meet him, by the time we reached. He was not part of the protest. He is making a documentary film on Rohith Vemula’s murder and the whole movement. He just got into the protest space as part of that and was taking bytes from students. He said, his video camera was confiscated and he was also pulled into the van and got severely beaten up. His crime? Apparently, police had asked media people present at the protest space to stay inside before lathi charge and Moses did not know about this because he was busy covering the whole protest. Police was shouting at him on how he ‘instigated’ female students by ‘talking’ to them! He asked all of his friends to relax and to support the movement.
I could not personally meet Shan Mhd and Sreerag Poickadath, but I was informed that they are OK too, although they got beaten up so badly. Ratnam sir’s condition was really bad after all the brutal violence. His blood pressure was really high for last two days. We were informed that his condition got improved by today. Tathagata Sengupta said they are all staying in the same room and are discussing politics and academics, despite the violence and trauma they underwent. LS Baikani was worried about his family’s distress. That is the same with most of the students caught up there.
We reassured them that we will take care of comforting their families. They said they feel safe in jail than being in university or in police custody. Dontha Prashanth comforted Radhika Vemula who was in distress and tears to see all of the detainees behind bars. They said in unison that they are all OK and will keep fighting for her son’s cause. Our ultimate aim is that justice should be served to Rohith Vemula. The ultimate justice would be when we make sure universities stop being killing machines of its own students from vulnerable backgrounds. For that, Rohith Act need to be passed. That is what we are fighting for.
You can not scare our cause into silence with violence. Prisons do not scare our comrades. It did nothing to their indomitable spirit. We will keep up the fight!