Thousand of students and activists under the banners of AISA and RYA on Thursday protested at Parliament street in Delhi against the corruption and the privatisation of education in India and demanding equitable education for all and making right to employment as fundamental right.
Several of them, including women, were injured in a brutal lathicharge by police. The cops came down upon the protesters around 3pm when the activists were marching towards the Parliament.
Here is the press statement by AISA and RYA:
Thousands of students and youth from all over the country stormed the barricades at Jantar Mantar today under the banner of AISA and RYA, protesting corporate plunder and the UPA Government’s pro-corporate scams, and demanding equitable education and dignified employment. As they broke the barricades, the police lathicharged the students and youth, severely injuring several.
Ravi Rai, General Secretary of AISA, reacting to the lathicharge, said, “The UPA Government protects its corrupt Ministers and corrupt corporates who loot lakhs of crores worth of the country’s precious resources – but unleashes repression on the country’s young generation when they demand the right to equitable education and dignified employment. Rahul Gandhi claims to represent ‘youth’ – he should answer for his Government’s shameful treatment of the country’s youth and students.”
Before the students and youth marched to Parliament, they held a massive meeting, which blockaded the Jantar Mantar road. Waving red flags, and colourful painted hoardings and banners, they raised slogans of ‘Corporate Plunderers Quit India’ and ‘Shame on UPA Govt that Subsidises Corporates and Sells Out Students’.
The hoardings said, “UPA Govt Spends on Education in Nine Years What It Allows to Corporates to Loot in Just 2 Scams”, pointing out that the total amount looted in 2G and Coal scams amounted to Rs 3.56 lakh crores – more or less equal to the Rs 3.52 lakh crore that is the UPA Government’s total education budget of the last nine years!
The mass meeting was addressed by national leaders of the AISA and RYA, and the main speaker was CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. He said that the battle against corruption not be waged by the likes of Baba Ramdev who hobnobbed with communal killers and made deals with ruling class parties, and who ran away when the police attacked.
He also said that Anna Hazare too had failed to target corporate plunder as the root of corruption, and he too had retreated from the movement against corruption. He congratulated the students and youth for taking corporate plunder head on – by barricading Parliament Street last year, and now by storming the barricades.
After a rousing call by leaders of the AISA and RYA leaders, the students and youth began marching towards Parliament. They broke down the first two barricades, braving a severe police lathicharge in which several students suffered severe injuries.
The march to Parliament was led by AISA President Sandeep Singh and General Secretary Ravi Rai, RYA President Mohd. Salim and General Secretary Kamlesh, JNUSU President Sucheta De, and AISA and RYA leaders of several states, including Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karbi Anglong, West Bengal, Darjeeling, Punjab, Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi and other states.