ABVP beats up book seller on constitution day
The bookseller was selling ‘JNU Diary’ among others
Pune: The Pune unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) roughed up a bookseller working for ‘Hariti Publications’, which publishes Ambedkarite and progressive literature. The student organisation aligned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, claimed that the literature sold by Hariti, was ‘anti-national’ in nature and promoted ‘Naxalism’. The book which was the bone of contention for the ABVP was ‘JNU Diary’, written by Mithilesh Priyadarshy.
From Saturday, the English department of the Savitribai Phule Pune University, was hosting a refreshment programme for students. Hariti Publishers, who have a popular outdoor selling setup, were contacted by a professor from the department to set-up the stall near the programme venue. This is when, the ABVP, after noticing the books, began enquiring if the seller had any permissions.
Shyam Ghuge, who sells books for Hariti, said, “We did not have any written legal permission that day as we did not really know if such a thing was required. Once the ABVP activists started threatening us and called up security guards, we told them, that we will get the necessary permission but they had no right to threaten us,” adding, “but they were threatening us and telling us that we cannot sell such ‘anti-national’ material.”
The seller, then approached the SPPU administration, and took a written permission for putting up the stall. As the seller put up a stall on Monday again, the ABVP activists came to the stall and started threatening. “We told them that we have permission this time around. There was another stall at the same event, but the ABVP continued threatening only us. When we started resisting, they started to beat us up. Some students and other student union activist who tried to help me were also injured.”
Anil Thombare, the pune secretary of the ABVP, said, “Hariti is known to sell anti-national literature. They did not have any permission either. When we saw that they were selling a book like ‘JNU Diary’, we asked the university administration to take action against them,” adding when asked to name the anti-national literature, “The book defends Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid who have raised anti-national slogans. We don’t know other books but selling this book itself is like supporting Naxalism.”
Ghuge says, that he does not think the books that he sells have anything anti-national in them. “Since when did selling books of idols like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar become anti-national? Is selling books of journalist P Sainath, professor Gopal Guru, Charu Gupta, Sharmila Rege and others anti-national?,” adding, “And what right does the ABVP have to beat us? Who are they to tell us what we can sell or not when our constitution has given us the right to follow our ideals?”. The Congress affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the CPI(M) affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI) rushed to the scene and engaged in sloganeering as tensions prevailed in the university campus.
SFI-NSUI also indulged in sloganeering as tensions prevailed in the campus.