New Delhi: A group of 60-70 Left-wing professors, former students’ union leaders, social activists and political party workers have formed a Joint Action Forum (JAF) to fuel protests on campuses across the country against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The members of JAF are from various Left-aligned organisations and have resolved to drive a nationwide campaign against the abrogation of Article 370 through flash protests and also use social media for the purpose. As per sources, the JAF was formed last week in Delhi where all the members present took the decision to trigger huge protests on the matter.
A source close to the JAF told The Sunday Guardian: “After its formation, the JAF decided that it would create a mass movement against the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A. The primary role of the members of the JAF will be to use all platforms of protest, including social media to create a mass movement. The members, with the help of students’ union leaders, social workers and like-minded individuals, will organise protests on the campuses of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Hyderabad (UoH), Delhi University (DU), and NALSAR University of Law.”
“The JAF has formed several sub-committees including Fund Raising Committee, Social Media Committee, Coordination Committee, etc. These committees will help the JAF in sustaining the protests. The Fund Raising Committee will crowd-source the funds required for the agitation. Similarly, the Social Media Committee, through Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, will help the JAF in spreading its messages,” said the same source.
According to sources, a “Masal Juloos” (torch rally) under the aegis of the JAF has already been held in JNU on the night of Wednesday-Thursday this week in which around 500 teachers, activists and students participated. During the Masal Juloos march, slogans against the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A were raised by the protestors.
Sources also said that JAF has created a team which has members who are experts in photography and video-editing so that attractive messages can be disseminated on the issue. They have created various social media pages where they post these videos and photographs, claiming that these have been released by their fact-finding teams. A similar video (“Caged Kashmir”) message on J&K has already been released. Members of this team visited Kashmir from 9-14 August and the video (“Caged Kashmir”) was apparently made by this team. However, the Press Club in Delhi did not allow the screening of this film.
Although the JAF is working secretly, the Ministry of Home Affairs seems to be aware of the issue, as on Friday, a similar protest was stopped in Lucknow and several members, including Sandeep Pandey who represents the Rehai Manch—a non-government organisation—and Arundhati Dhuru—a social activist—were placed under house arrest.
These activists and their supporters have expressed dismay on being placed under house arrest just before the protest. Sandeep Pandey and Arundhati Dhuri were about to step out of their homes to participate in a candlelight vigil when police informed them that they were under house arrest.