Aysha Renna, the 22-year old student of Jamia Millia University, who along with Ladeeda Farzana had become well-known after visuals of them questioning police brutality went viral, was recently heckled in Kerala, by activists of the CPI(M), DFYI and others at Kondotty in Malappuram on Saturday.
Aysha had come to speak at a protest organised by a citizen’s forum that included various youth clubs, traders’ organisations, the Kondotty municipality and others against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“We view all those who try to suppress us as people with the BJP. What we are going to witness is an emergence of Bahujan Muslim politics (against suppression). I demand the release of Chandra Sekhar Azad. I oppose the police action of arresting Chandrasekhar Azad. I also demand the release of those who protested in solidarity with the students of Jamia Milla and were arrested by the Pinarayi government. We will go ahead with our agitation” Renna said in her speech.
Her reference was reportedly about the Kerala police detaining people in connection with a hartal against the CAA organised by a few Muslim and Dalit organisations on December 17 in the state. the CPI(M), Congress and IUML had distanced themselves from the hartal as SDPI was one of the main organisers. Through the day, Kerala police had detained and arrested protesters, of which many had blocked roads and obstructed traffic. Renna is a native of Kondotty in Malappuram where many had been arrested during the conflict.
Aysha mentioning Pinarayi government and police provoked a few people among the audience. According to reports, the organisers too were upset that the stage which was meant to condemn the central government was used to talk about identity politics. They asked Aysha to take back her words, but protesters heckled her and demanded an apology when she came back on stage.
Renna can be heard saying aloud that there shouldn't be any 'internal conflict or issues among us'. “What I said is my opinion," she tells the crowd. One person can be heard saying, "What opinion? You cannot say that opinion." "Your opinion should be told at your home, not here," says another man. Though the organisers who were standing next to Renna prevented the agitators from climbing on stage, they can be heard raising their voices and shouting at her. They even demanded an apology from her asking if she had come to oppose Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Those who protested against the speech also raised slogans outside the venue demanding an apology from Renna for speaking against Pinarayi.
DYFI Malappuram district president Mubashir told TNM that not just CPI(M) or DYFI, there were all kinds of people who opposed Renna’s speech. “There were speakers as such but an oath was planned at the event. But when the local MLA PV Ibrahim spoke, some people from the audience demanded that Renna should speak. But her speech in which she tried to compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan provoked some people. There could be DYFI workers also among those who opposed, but they were others too who were not party workers,” he said.