An Open Letter to Chandan Mitra, Editor of Daily Pioneer
Stop your sanghi lies and vile propaganda of branding and false profiling of students, teachers and student organisations of JNU!
The Daily Pioneer,
Dear Mr. Chandan Mitra,
On the 2nd of June, an atrocious editorial, full of nothing but a bunch of lies and malicious and false propaganda, against Jawaharlal Nehru University, its faculty members and many of student organizations functioning there was published in your newspaper titled, ‘Too Serious to be Brushed Aside’ written by some KG Suresh (http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/too-serious-to-be-brushed-aside.html). We strongly protest against this vile attempt by your newspaper to portray the students, teachers and various democratic organizations in such a malevolent light. JNU is known to the entire world for its democratic values and the space for every form of debate and discussion – a space that the students’ movement has created through its painstaking struggles for decades. JNU students have remained in the forefront of struggles against each and every anti-people move of the government and attempts to throttle voices of democracy and civil rights from the days of emergency till today. Certainly such a space has always remained an eye sore to the powers that be and unsurprisingly also to the current fascist government, which is now planting such fictitious stories in loyalist newspapers like yours to prepare a ground for McCarthyian witch-hunt. The editorial also claims as much by saying that ‘now that a nationalist government is in power and in a majority of its own it is high time that this great institution is cleansed of separatists, Maoists and anti-national forces’ (emphasis ours’). Can we ask you, how exactly do you intend to get a university cleansed of its students, the large majority of whom, raise uncomfortable questions and speak truth to power? Gujarat style - where all political dissents and dissidents are silenced, many times brutally, to ensure that a fascist figurehead remains at the helm? Or Kashmir style – where the universities have been turned into army and military cantonments?
Expectedly, the entire editorial is solely based on inputs from the Intelligence Bureau and uses the age-old tactic of branding many democratic organizations and what it calls ‘liberal-feminist’ faculty as ‘anti-national’! Branding voices of dissent and a different political opinion as ‘anti-national’ rather than even making an attempt to politically counter it only brings out the ideological poverty of the writer as well as your newspaper. And if the IB inputs were not enough, the article also reproduces certain fancy myths which were claimed only by the fascist hoodlums of ABVP as facts (‘dance party was held to celebrate killing of 76 jawans’; ‘Indian flag was torn in Tapti hostel’ and so on!) which had been overwhelmingly rejected by the entire student community. But your vile attempts have crossed all limits by claiming that certain organizations as well as academic and political activities on campus ‘are receiving liberal funding from hostile foreign agencies!’ To be more specific, we would like to ask you which hostile agency funded which political or academic activity in JNU? Can you give even an iota of evidence to substantiate such bogus claims? The fact that media houses lie is a well known open secret, but there is a limit to which one can lie.
Although the editorial names scores of organization as carrying out ‘anti-national and terrorist activities’ our organization Democratic Students Union (DSU) seems to be its primary attack. Well, he has rightly said that DSU consistently raises the issues of Kashmir and North-East, demands repeal of AFSPA, ‘highlights alleged atrocities by the security forces in the Kashmir and North East, raising the unsubstantiated (sic) issues of mass graves and disappearances in Kashmir etc.’ Yes, we are unapologetic in our opposition to the extreme form of state terror that the Indian state has inflicted on the people of Kashmir and North-east and we also stand in complete solidarity with the people of these nationalities for their democratic right to self-determination including their right to secede from the Indian union. And for your very kind information, whether you accept it or not, the army’s atrocities on the people of Kashmir and the North-East, the disappearances and mass graves in Kashmir are not unsubstantiated but facts well documented by several civil society and even some state reports. In the future too we shall continue to extend our support to the people of the struggling nationalities and voice our categorical opinions against the heinous atrocities of the armed forces. Mr. Suresh seems to be quite perplexed about this, (and we don’t expect here he will be able to give a political rebuttal – here he is on a shaky ground) and his ridiculousness knows no bounds when he claims that ‘DSU is allegedly funded by Pakistan’! Mr. Mitra and Mr. Suresh, it is our conscience and political conviction, and not ‘foreign funding’ that is the guiding principle behind our political positions and activities. That, however, is too difficult for you to understand. Having sold yourselves out to big corporations that are destroying, looting and plundering our country and having aligned very closely to communal mass murderers, dalal media houses like yours only obliterate and vilify the different people’s struggles. But that shall not stop the progressive and democratic people from speaking out the truth. The constitution of India does guarantee a freedom of speech and expression and we shall not let jingoist and fascist forces to throttle them.
Every organization and individual in JNU are entitled to their right to freedom of speech and your newspaper has no right to subvert or question the same. Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy is absolutely within his rights to express his views over Kashmir and your newspaper has no business in branding him as ‘anti-national.’ Similarly, organizations like JNU Forum against War on People, PDSU, SFR, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, Students’ League, Campus front of India, The New Materialists, Popular front of India, Feminists’ Collective, Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, Revolutionary Cultural Front, Naga Study Forum etc. are all well known organizations which are constituted by either students or teachers or other academicians and many of them are active at an all- India level as well and are relentlessly raising many issues and fighting for the democratic rights of people. Apart from these, interestingly the author has named many more organisations - some of which never existed and some which are not functional anymore. Seems like the IB had also mistakenly forwarded Mr. Suresh some outdated files, and who unaware of it has simply copy pasted it from there!
The most disgusting claim made by this editorial was that ‘nationalist brave-heart dons (!) have come out against such activities notwithstanding attempts at character assassination through false cases of sexual harassment, denial of promotions and other pressure tactics such as boycott’. As an example of such ‘falsely implicated brave-heart don’ the author cites the name of Amitabh Kundu and alludes that he was implicated because ‘he lodged a complaint in the crime branch in January 2014 asking for urgent inquiry into the activities of DSU.’ Well, we would like to intimate the esteemed author of the bogus editorial that Amitabh Kundu was found guilty of sexual harassment by the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) in August 2013 – a fact accepted by also the Executive Council of JNU.
In each and every line of this fairy tale editorial, lies, propaganda and deliberate sabotage of facts are present. Some of them are out-rightly ridiculous while the rest are dangerous. Knowing the propensity of your newspaper, which long ago threw journalistic ethics to the dustbin to become the unofficial mouthpiece of the fascist sangh-parivar, we shall not waste our time to urge you to do more ethical journalism. We, however, take this opportunity to warn you not to engage in such smear campaign against our university. For your information our university is neither a monument to either Nehru or Jinnah. The progressive majority of this university uphold the dreams and visions of Bhagat Singh, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Savitribhai Phule, Birsa Munda and millions of other people who have dreamt, fought, lived and died for a society freee from all forms of exploitation which ensures equality and justice to all. And your veiled threats in such articles notwithstanding we shall continue to do so in the days to come.
We demand that you publish a retraction to the content of this article immediately otherwise we are going to take legal action against you. The political battle will anyway continue.
Thanking You,Democratic Students’ Union
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