Nikhila Sajeev, a former student of University College in Thiruvananthapuram, attempted to take own her life in May following harassment from SFI members.

Govt should end its farce and be strict with SFI Former Univ college student Nikhila
news Campus Politics Monday, July 15, 2019 - 13:05

In May, Nikhila Sajeev, a first-year student of University College in Thiruvananthapuram, attempted to take her own life following harassment from members of the Student Federation on India (SFI), the student wing of the CPI(M). Although it had made news then, she did not garner enough support from other students. It did not raise an agitation amongst the students then, as it has been since Friday, when a student of the same college, Akhil, was stabbed by the same SFI members.

Nikhila, however, believes that the recent incident could have been averted if she had the support of other students then. The 18-year-old was found lying injured in the toilet of the campus, with a note accusing SFI workers of harassment. She left the college after the incident and even withdrew the suicide note. 

Recalling the incident, Nikhila tells TNM, “I couldn’t get much support from the students after I attempted to take my life. It may be because I was a first-year student of the college, or maybe the timing of when it happened, as it was around the vacation time, or simply because the students were afraid. But had I received this kind of support from students then, the current incident could have been prevented,” says Nikhila.

She also recounts how the SFI unit at the college threatened even the few students who openly supported her on social media. “This time SFI’s atrocity was against a third-year student, and some of his friends may have bravely taken the initiative to go against them. After the incident in May, some former students of the college, who even belonged to SFI, had personally told me that the SFI atrocities that I had detailed in my letter were true,” she says.

Akhil, the student who was stabbed by SFI members 

Read: Students accuse SFI of 'harassment' after Kerala student attempts to kill self

‘Ideologically, I’m a left sympathiser’

Nikhila had to go through severe emotional turmoil following the incident, from not being able to study in the same college anymore to dealing with the police case charged against her for trying to commit suicide.

“For about one month in between my exams, I was shuttling between the police station and the court. I wanted to go forward with the case, but my family was scared. SFI in University College is different from units in other colleges. Here, things are under the party’s [CPI(M)] direct control. And if a person goes forward with a case against them, it was sure that people from outside the college would intervene,” says Nikhila.

Despite this, Nikhila stresses that ideologically, she is a Left sympathiser. “When I joined college, I was an SFI sympathiser. People in my family are also Left-leaning and earlier also I have read many revolutionary texts. Even now, ideologically, I am a Left sympathiser, but if this is the way their deeds are, I will hate it,” she says.

‘Government should end its farce’

“When my case went to court, I hoped the government would intervene; but nothing happened. Even in the present incident, things have heated up only because students stood together, else, this, too, would have been hushed up,” she says.

After having a brush with the SFI, Nikhila says that SFI unit in the college is most likely to continue its hooliganism. “Students should continue to stay strong and the people in the organisation should be ready to rectify their mistakes. Most importantly, the government should end its farce and take stern action against those SFI members committing an offence,” says Nikhila.

She also points out that the college authorities also fear the SFI. “For most of the activities, SFI gets a silent nod from the administration, even though it takes a toll on the functioning of the class. Some of the teachers are afraid to raise voice and some simply don’t care about the future of students,” says Nikhila.

Read: What fuels SFI’s audacious behaviour in Thiruvananthapuram’s University College

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