KUSU Survives

JUNAID UL SHAFI

My first entry as a student into the University campus happened in the spring of April, 2010. We were studying legal history when we heard anti-India and pro-freedom slogans from the lawns of our department. After few minutes class rooms were empty and most of the new entrants of KU like me joined their seniors who were protesting against the death sentence awarded by a Delhi Court against three Kashmiris—Nisar Hussain, Muhammad Ali Bhat and Muhammad Naushad for their alleged role in the Lajpatnagar blasts of 1996.

As we joined the protesting students who were shouting slogans against the Indian state and its Judiciary the procession marched towards other departments snowballing into a large protest. The procession swelled and when we reached near Humanities block I turned my head backwards and was amazed to see the huge protest.  There were no big banners but hand written posters expressing solidarity with the convicted Kashmiris. As the procession reached near Rumi gate, it was closed on the directions of University authorities. Students sat down near the gate and passed resolutions condemning the death sentence and then dispersed peacefully

After a few weeks, one fine morning on 17th May 2010, when we reached the campus we were shocked to see that the office of Kashmir University Students Union was demolished by the University authorities on Sunday. When students from different departments gathered near Allama Iqbal Library and raised their voices against the demolition of KUSA office, force was used to disperse the peaceful gathering. Men in khaki with bamboo sticks and assault guns were used as if they had to crush an invading army instead of peaceful students.

Before these events KUSU was little known to me. The University authorities said that KUSU has been banned and no student activism will be tolerated within the campus. In the coming months of summer whole Kashmir erupted against India. KU remained in suspended animation  for months  as all educational institutions remained closed.

In the following years KUSU continued to organize programmes and protests in campus ranging from signature campaign to placard displays. Those who guided and led the programmes in 2010 had left the university. New students come and joined, the functioning of KUSU continued.

On 29th May 2014 KUSU organized a programme to commemorate the murder and rape of two women  from Shopian. The students worked hard to make it a success. The university authorities again tried to restrain the students from it but the students made it to happen. They seized the audio system but could not stop the voices. Before the commencement of programme only a few students had registered their names for expressing their views on the topic. As the programme commenced a good number of students came forward to express solidarity with Aasiyas, Neelofers and Mubeenas of Kashmir, who were raped by the armed forces. I was surprised to see the spirit of new entrants particularly girls who expressed their anger and resistance against the occupiers of their nation.

The message was loud and clear that the new generation stands with the resistance. In 2010 I was a new student unaware of KUSU today I know the significance of KUSU for the students. KUSU is officially banned but continues to function. University authorities demolished the office of KUSU but its members plan their resistance under the mighty chinars.

KUSU has no office bearer, no external linkage, no state or private aid still KUSU exists because KUSU RESISTS. Do we need their recognition when we are there to resist the designs of oppressors? KUSU stands against injustice, aggression and occupation in any form.

KUSU is just not a student body it is a platform to express the views from students activism to resistance. KUSU has a history of standing against occupation since its formation. This year when we would be leaving university of Kashmir there are hundreds of new students who had already taken the reins of KUSU in their hands. KUSU will continue to function as a student body in campus because it is based on the idea of resistance and freedom. They can cage the people but not the ideas. We have passed the message of KUSU to new entrants and they will pass this baton to their juniors.

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