ABVP Pune Agitation Against Naxal Outfit Kabir Kala Manch

published on September 2, 2013

On 21st August, 2013, FTII Students Association, a student’s union of the students of FTII, Yugpath, NGO working for social and environmental issues had jointly organized a stage performance by Kabir Kala Manch artists. The programme was organized in the premises of NFAI and it also included screening of ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’ a film by Anand Patwardhan. After the programme concluded, and the audience come out of the hall, few people from the audience met Deepak Dengle, one of the KKM performers. He was asked about the details of KKM activities. Some also enquired about the alleged relation between KKM and naxalite to which he replied in negative. However, on further inquiry, one of the student, who was one of the organizers in disgust declared loudly “YES I’m a naxalite, let’s see what anyone can do to me”. Few ABVP activists, who had come to attend the programme, approached him, like any law abiding citizens should, and asked him to repeat the same in front of the local police. This angered the student further and he started shouting Pro-Naxal slogans. The ABVP activists responded by raising slogans of Vande Mataram. This Further angered the FTII students and they started pushing the ABVP activists. The security, sensing some trouble, immediately asked the crowd to disperse. As soon as the organizers and ABVP activists moved out of the NFAI premises, the student challenged the ABVP activists to take him to police. Immediately, ABVP activists caught hold of him. The organizers immediately rushed towards them and started to push ABVP activists. Push turned to shove and the ABVP activists were badly beaten up. A few of the FTII students were also injured. The ABVP activists approached Prabhat Road police chowky to lodge a police criminal complaint against the KKM and FTII students involved in this incident. The police immediately referred them to Sassoon Hospital for treatment. They were discharged after preliminary treatment and thereafter, a case of rioting was registered against KKM and FTII students.
Immediately after the above incident occurred, the media flashed that ABVP activists had bashed up FTII students and that ABVP activist created a ruckus in a programme that was arranged to pay tribute to Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. Media further reported that ABVP also protested against the screening of the film ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’. The whole incident, as covered by the National media shows that ABVP denied the organizers their just rights of freedom of speech and expression and that ABVP used unfair means and even went further and caused riot.

But the manner in which the whole story was reported is one-sided and shows bias on part of the media. And there is a need to clarify a few points before forming an opinion on this whole issue.

First of all, the programme was never arranged to pay tribute to Dr.Narendra Dabholkar as reported. Let it be made very clear that the programme was planned well in advance was publicized before the death of Dr.Dabholkar. Only homage was paid to him in the programme which was decided after his death. The posters were put by the organizers well before and uploaded on social network as well.

It was also reported that ABVP objected to the screening of ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’ but there is no truth in this allegation. ABVP has nothing to do with the said film. The said film only tries to highlight some stark contradictions that exist in the Indian society.

Further the ABVP does not have any issue with either of the organizing bodies VIZ. Yugpath and FTII students association. The work done by members of Yugpath in traffic sector is indeed commendable and ABVP always stands by such efforts. The only reason the unfortunate incident occurred was because some of the students declared their naxal links and challenged the society at large to “do what you want to”.

Also, if ABVP had pre-planned to attack them, as reported by the media, it is difficult to understand that the programme went on peacefully without any noise been created ABVP then.

As far as the issue of performances by the KKM artists in the programme is concerned, we need to first know about KKM. Kabir Kala Manch was formed in Pune in 2002 in the wake of the Gujarat riots and made up of students and young professionals who performed protest poetry and plays in slums and streets. Few KKM members were arrested in May 2011 along with Angela Sontakke, a member of the banned CPI(Maoist) and wife of Milind Teltumbde, the secretary of Maharashtra unit of CPI (Maoist), by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Maharashtra Police and charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Most of the members who performed on the said platform are out on bail and very serious charges are pending against them in the court of law.

Even during the programme, before the KKM artists performed in front of the audience, they introduced themselves and mentioned about their the so called injustice that they claimed to have been meted out to them by the state and about their jail tenure. Even the above-mentioned Deepak Dengle was lodged behind bars for around 2 years and was recently released on bail by Bombay High Court. Members of KKM are still lodged in jail. Other artists from KKM who performed include Siddharth Bhosle who is also out on bail.

As far as the right to freedom of expression is concerned, ABVP did not obstruct the programme and it went of smoothly. Hence, the above allegation is without any foundation. The performers raised the slogans of ‘Laal Salaam’, which is also reported by the media, which is a phrase commonly used by communists and naxalites in India.

The activities of KKM are on the police radar and that investigations are still on for their alleged links with the naxalite movements operating in India. The allegation that ABVP activists indulged in rioting is totally false because it was the KKM artists and their supporters who initiated the physical assault and the fight that ensued later and that ABVP activists countered as they have a right to self-defence.

In media reports, they claim that ABVP activists asked them to say ‘Jai Narendra Modi’ which is totally false. This is done only to link this incident to some other issues so as to divert attention of the public from their weakness.

Slowly a larger pattern of glorifying alleged naxal elements and vilifying citizens who dare to raise their voice against such instances is seen emerging in the Pune. The above incident just adds further colour to the pattern. It just makes one wonder is this a conscious attempt to turn the city red in a bid to match the ideology of India’s Eastern neighbours.

ABVP Demands:-

1. Pune Police has eventually alerted the people about the Naxalite activities of KKM. This has revealed the fact that there is a group existing in Pune which supports Naxalism through KKM. FTII is autonomous body under Government of India. Yet, it has organized such program ignoring the security alert. ABVP demands the in depth enquiry of the entire episode and who all are the master minds supporting this anti-national activities

2. In Police station, the director of FTII took the stance as this event did not take place in institutes premises. Students from our institute organized this so we are not directly linked with it. But outside of station, the institute has officially issued press note and conducted press conference backing their students who are openly supporting the Naxalism. This is contradictory to functioning of Government undertaking institute. This forces the people to believe that these students are enjoying the support from directors for being Naxalites. So, FTII also must be enquired and people convicted must be punished.

3. As mentioned above, many activist of KKM that performed in FTII were on bail and had been earlier jailed under Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act. Still they had no fear of Law of India and are continuing their propaganda. This shows their deep network. So we demand complete washout of the Naxal network in Pune as well as the country.

4. Naxals are expanding their base in Pune. Even, Hon. Home Minister Shri. Sushilkumar Shinde has said this. ABVP is worried with this entire happening and appeals to all the students and the society to fight with this serious threat to national security.

5. We demand complete ban of this Naxal- linked organisation Kabir Kala Manch (KKM)
and also their propaganda material must be seized and destroyed.

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