Two days after a protest against the murder of Gauri Lankesh held in Bengaluru saw thousands gather at Central College grounds, a letter addressed to the Union Home Minister has sought disciplinary action against the NCC Unit of St Joseph’s Institutions for participating in the protest.
The letter written by Radhakrishna Holla, Convener, Citizens for Democracy says that by participating in a political protest against the Union Government in full uniform the NCC unit flouted the NCC Act of 1948.
Radhakrishna Holla, Convener has requested Prakash Javdekar, Union Home Minister for Human Resource Development that action be taken against “errant authorities responsible for this grave indiscipline.”
“The NCC participating in the protest is against the NCC act of 1948 and they are not supposed to attend political marches in their official capacity. This protest march was highly political although it was conducted by non-political organisations. There were many speakers there who spoke against our Prime Minister and against certain parties. It is not the right environment for students. NCC is a stepping stone to the defence forces and we should instill patriotism in them But instead we are introducing them to biases which is a violations of the NCC spirit,” Holla told TNM.
Holla states in the letter, “The NCC, similar to the armed forces, is an institution of national pride which stands heads and shoulders above the hurly burly of party politics and derives its great respect because of this political insulation. However, it is a matter of great dismay that the NCC unit of the St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru participated in a political march taken out to protest the killing of journalist Ms Gauri Lankesh.”
The letter highlights that the FAQ’s on the official NCC website also makes it amply clear that a cadet is not supposed to participate in election rallies or political programs in the capacity of an NCC cadet.
“In view of the above indiscipline, we request you to kindly direct the concerned authorities to make appropriate inquiries in the said indiscipline and take strict action against the College Management as well as the NCC officers of the said Unit for having made the cadets to participate in the said political program, as prescribed under the NCC Act, 1948 and the Rules made thereunder,” Holla states in the letter.
Saying that their group is not affiliated with any political part but is a group of professionals—software, medical professionals and advocates, Holla added, “We are a platform working for various social issues. We are an apolitical group.”
Holla says that their group which has been active since 2012 has been part of various awareness programmes such as conducting awareness for registering on the voter’s list in the last election.” The FB page of the forum says, “We have decided to support BJP in the coming elections and create a campaign among IT professionals and general public.”
Vidya Dinker, former journalism lecturer and activist said, “I understand that St Joseph’s is taking care of any legal questions that might arise as a result of this. As an activist, we are very concerned about this kind of pseudo-nationalism flexing its muscles. We are very heartened to see student units like the NCC, NSS becoming thinking individuals, even political individuals. It augurs very well for the future of our nation as conceived by our founding fathers and mothers and as enshrined in the constitution we have given ourselves.”