Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kerala teacher Deepa Nisanth stands up against beef ban, faces threats from Hindutva groups

Deepa Nishant, an Assistant Professor in Malayalam department of Sree Kerala Varma College is the most hated person for the ABVP students and their parent right-wing groups in Kerala. Deepa, who is also a writer, had made a Facebook post supporting the "beef festival" protest organised by the SFI students in her college. She voiced her concerns against the ban of beef inside the college campus, and wrote, "Today they say no to beef equating colleges to temples, tomorrow they will ban the entry of menstruating women and even the backward classes, stating the same reason." She has, however, withdrawn the post now. 

The ABVP activists, students' wing of the BJP, filed a complaint against Deepa to the Cochin Devaswom Board, an autonomous organisation under the state government, managing the said college as well. The board ordered probe and asked the Principal to submit a report.
To protest against the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, over rumours of eating beef, SFI, the students wing of CPI(M), organised a "beef festival" in Sree Kerala Varma College on October 1, 2015. The government aided college took stringent action against the SFI activists and suspended six students for distributing beef and bread inside the college campus.


"Our college has a tradition of not serving non-vegetarian dishes even for official functions. So, the management felt that it was not fair to distribute beef within the campus," CM Latha, Principal of Sree Kerala Varma College said to the Hindustan Times.

Deepa is being lauded by many on Facebook and currently has over 60,000 followers, steadily rising as you are reading this. Those who are supporting her stand, are posting on her Facebook wall declaring solidarity to her stand but it seems she is also getting numerous threats and abusive messages in her inbox, and otherwise from right wing activists.

Former General Secretary of CPI(M), Pinarayi Vijayan, has come forward in support of Deepa and posted on Facebook - "The Sangh Parivar needn't decide what sutdents should be eating. They are trying to spread throughout India, what they started with Mohammad Akhlaq's murder in Dadri over rumours of eating beef. Deepa Nishant's worry that in future, the right wing groups will ban the entry of backward classes and women stating colleges are like temples, makes sense to me."

However, Deepa told Mathrubhumi, the Cochin Devaswom Board has not demanded of any explanation from her. She also made a Facebook post thanking all those who are reaching out to her to show support and apologising for not being able to respond to everyone personally.