Even as thousands of students from across the country are gathered in New Delhi for a march to protest against Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide and in support of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), students in Mumbai are not far behind. Several student organisations have come together to arrange a candle light march in the city today.
The event has been jointly organised by Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Progressive Students’ Forum (PSF) and Student Federation of India (SFI).
Preethy Shekhar, state president of DYFI, told mid-day, “The support is pouring in for the event in Delhi. But there are many who are not able to reach Delhi. We decided to organise a similar event in Mumbai.”
This march will begin at Regal Cinema at around 6 pm, and the participants will make their way toward Gateway of India. On Saturday, DYFI has also organised a screening of the movie — ‘Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki Hai.’ A screening of this movie had been disrupted by the ABVP in Vemula’s university.
Saqib Khan, a student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and a member of PSF, said, “In the future, we will be organising panel discussions to discuss all of the recent events. The youth (of the country) is coming together for a cause.”
Several students are in the capital to attend ‘Chalo Delhi’, a protest organised by Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice and Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in solidarity with Rohith Vemula and JNU students.
Sagar Bhalerao, from Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, is one of the Mumbai students present in Delhi for the two-day event. He said, “Political interference in campuses of educational institutions is wrong. It was not long ago when we were demanding justice for Vemula, and now we see our friends from JNU being declared anti-national. This is complete denial of the right to freedom of speech, which is granted to us by our constitution.”
Sushmita Verma from JAC for Social Justice, who is also in Delhi, told mid-day, “There are over 5,000 students and some activists who are present. Around 50 of us are here from Mumbai. It is important to see students from different organisations coming together here and how students everywhere are planning similar activities in support. The government cannot ignore this.”