SAY NO TO YAGNAS AND ENFORCING OF OTHER BRAHMINICAL RITUALS IN EDUCATIONAL SPACES!
20TH MAY 2017
It is deeply ironic that on the morning of 20th May 2017, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, (IIMC) Delhi, a premiere educational institution, will start its morning with having a hindu brahmanical ritual of performing yagna. Not only this, in the later part of the day it will also provide a platform to speak to S.R.P. Kalluri, the disgraced former IG of Bastar, Chhattisgarh who was sent on a period of long leave after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took cognizance of his role in perpetrating and encouraging human rights abuses in the state of Chhattisgarh, to speak in an event called “National Journalism in today’s context”.
This is the Kalluri who famously told journalist Kamal Shukla that he must “Either leave journalism or leave Bastar!”; the Kalluri who was responsible for the arrest of journalists such as Santosh Yadav, who has testified to Kalluri personally ordering his arrest, and Deepak Jaiswal who reported for Dainik Dainandini; the Kalluri who arrested and under whose watch the arrest and custodial torture of reporter Somaru Nag and reporter Prabhat Singh of the publication Patrika; the Kalluri who threatened and hounded journalists Malini Subramaniam from Scroll and Alok Putul from BBC out of Bastar. A recorded conversation between Kalluri and Vatsalya Rai of the BBC where Kalluri uses foul language and calls the BBC “bloody media” is available on the BBC radio site. An invitation of this kind extended to Kalluri sends a strong message that the IIMC supports a clampdown on journalism and the arrest and custodial torture of journalists, which makes one wonder what kind of journalism they teach.
It is even more ironic that Kalluri was invited to speak at a session on “Issues of oppressed communities”, given his long history of oppression of adivasis in Bastar. When he was IG of police he presided over a long and bloody history of murders, fake encounters, gangrapes, custodial torture and custodial rape. Kalluri famously resisted any attempt by lawyers and human rights activists to hold the police accountable and instead hounded the lawyers of Jaglag, Bela Bhatia, and Nandini Sundar, filing false cases and pressuring their landlords to evict them via vigilante groups such as the Samajit Ekta Manch.
Kalluri himself is a rape accused; an adivasi woman named Ledha Bai gave a statement before a magistrate that he ordered her to be stripped and brought to his room for “interrogation” in the police station, and then raped her and stuffed green chillies in her vagina. There have been several other petitions filed in court on the mass rapes of adivasi women by police, and jail superintendent and whistleblower Varsha Dongre has herself testified to the assault, torture and electrocution of adivasi women in custody. The Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission have taken cognizance of the human rights violations over which Kalluri has presided, explicitly noting his involvement. The further irony of Kalluri’s visit to IIMC is his claim to the NHRC of being so unwell that he can not appear before them in response to their summons. Such blatant disrespect towards the law and violation of it with complete impunity is the hallmark of Kalluri’s history in Bastar.
IIMC’s journalistic ethics are not only compromised by inviting a disgraced ex-IG with a record of torture and intimidation of journalists, but also by organizing this program in the form of a yagya. This props up the media as a fundamentally Brahminical institution and in the context of a rising Hindutva mob mentality, aligns IIMC with communal forces instead of maintaining neutrality around communal issues. The number of invitees who are heads of RSS related organizations, including the editor of Panchjanya, exposes the complete hijack of a public institution such as IIMC by the Sangh Parivar. The panel on Kashmir does not have place for a single Kashmiri Muslim representative but gives space to a retired Colonel, thereby encouraging a spectacularly one-sided discussion on the subject. With this kind of bias and selectivity, we see that IIMC has discredited their own reputation, siding unambiguously with the forces of religion, the state, and the police, with no room for the voice of the people, let alone those from marginalized and oppressed communities.
We Won’t Allow Yagnas in Our Universities!
We Won’t Allow the likes of Kalluri to address the students!
We Will Fight Back!