The Central Executive Committee of Students Federation of India Condemns the brutal assault on IIT Madras student R. Sooraj by the right wing hindutva forces inside the campus. Sooraj, a participant in a protest against the newly brought ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, was subjected to a group attack which resulted in serious injury to his right eye.
This recent order by the central government is another declaration of war on the democratic rights of the people. The democratic communities and secular forces of this country have stated that it is an attack on the cultural diversity of the nation and also, an assault on the small cattle traders and their livelihood. On the other hand this should also be seen as an assault on the federal system of the country.
On 28th May, a programme was organised in IITM Campus, as a mark of protest against the central government order in which Sooraj, a PhD scholar also participated in solidarity with the nationwide agitation. After the peaceful discussion, the students ate beef and expressed their protest against the ban. The shocking incidents unravelled after some of the perpetrators issued open threats to student participants of the discussion, on social media. The student who damaged Sooraj’s right eye, Manish Kumar Singh had called up participants of the beef festival and had warned them of dire consequences. Manish Kumar Singh has the dubious record of threatening and manhandling students even in earlier incidents within the campus. Seven students surrounded Sooraj during lunch time at a hostel canteen on Tuesday and attacked him. The attackers had the gall to follow Sooraj to hospital and threaten him there. Sooraj has been shifted to Apollo Hospital and requires eye surgery. A case has been filed with the Tamil Nadu Police and a complaint has been registered with IIT administration also.
Students Federation of India extends its solidarity with Sooraj and other IITM students in their struggle for democratic rights to discussion and protest. We demand that the IIT administration act briskly on this issue, and expel the culprits behind this heinous crime. We also demand that strong legal action be taken against all other perpetrators of this dreadful attack. SFI appeals to all democratic and progressive sections to rally together to defeat the hindutva and neo-liberal assault on the lives of the millions and also to protect the democratic spaces in campuses.
VP Sanu (National President, SFI)
Vikram Singh (General Secretary, SFI)