There are days which pass with shaking the consciousness of democratic hearts. Jan. 19 must be counted as one of such, at least in the history of the student movement in India. SFI, the largest student organisation in India, lost three of its activists by the regressive forces on this same day of different years of the past in three different states. Knowing these brave student activists and their supreme sacrifice will also explain the struggle and pain organised left student movement went through over the years facing brutal repression by the state and right-wing forces. In 2014 Saifuddin Mollah in Bengal, in 1983 Varalakshmi in Andhra Pradesh and in 1982 Lalchand in UP. Below, a brief sketch of these three brave student activists.
SFI leader Saifuddin Mollah was brutally murdered in Baruipur, South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal on 19th January 2014. Saifuddin, a post-graduate student, was the president of Baruipur 2 rural local committee of SFI and was returning to his home in Sitakundu Bazar from a public meeting addressed by Suryakanta Mishra, the leader of opposition in the West Bengal assembly. He was forcibly kidnapped by Trinamool Congress goons and taken to a secluded place. He was mercilessly beaten, the entire body showed signs of savage torture. The news of his kidnapping reached to his family also and his brother rushed out to search for him. He even reached to the spot but was cordoned by the TMC assassins. Saifuddin was severely injured and was craving for a drop of water. But his brother was not allowed to do so. Meanwhile, the police were informed but they reached to the spot almost after two hours. Police brought Saifuddin to hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’.
Saifuddin Mollah was killed at a time when an all-out attack is being perpetrated against SFI in West Bengal. Elections to students’ unions are taking place in the state. In most of the colleges, TMC has not allowed any opposition organisation to contest. SFI activists were attacked, beaten mercilessly in many colleges in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Nadia, Siliguri, South Dinajpur, Maldaha. TMC goons, with active support from police, have virtually seized the colleges and universities and SFI could contest only after bloodshed wherever possible.Saifuddin Mollah was the son of a poor family; he supported his studies by teaching in a local coaching centre. He was very popular among the school students at the centre. A well-behaved and always available for social work, Saifuddin was a popular figure in the area. He was a member of CPI(M). He was only 23.
Comrade B. Varalakshmi was born in Dilavarpur Mandal in Adilabad district Andhra Pradesh. Her father was a teacher. She was a BSc first year student in the government college in Adilabad and an activist of SFI district unit. She was the convenor of the girl students' sub-committee and played a prominent role in the victory of SFI candidates in the students' union election. She was brutally murdered by anti-social elements on raising her voice against attempts to molest her. The murderer was a notorious criminal of the area. The incident took place on the mid-night of 19th January 1983, when Com Varalakshmi was on her way to Adilabad, her home town from Hyderabad where she had gone for some organisational work. The drunken goonda who was sitting next to her in the same bus tried to molest her to which she rightly reacted and raised her voice. He was then made to change his seat by the fellow passengers. The criminal got down after her at the same bus stop near her house. He took advantage of the falling night and tried to molest her. She fought valiantly and resisted his attempts and started screaming. He brutally strangled her to death on the 19th January 1983.
Comrade Lalchand was born in a landless poor family in Varnasi district in Uttar Pradesh. He was working as a member of the district committee of SFI and convener of Ashok Intermediate College Unit. By nature, he was very courageous and first to face any hardship. He sacrificed his life fighting against the inhuman policies of Congress Government. Lalchand was student of 10th class at the time of his death. On 19th January, 1982 all the central trade unions have given a call for all India general strike. This strike was supported by the organisations of peasants, youth, students and other democratic forces across the country. Thus this strike got converted into Bharat Bandh. People of Varanasi too supported and took an active part in making this Bharat Bandh a success and thus register their protest against the anti-people policies of the Congress government. Students, under the leadership of SFI too played a leading role in this struggle to make it a success. Approximately 300 students were put in the jail. On 19th January, in Babury Bazar near about one thousand youth, students, workers and farmers sat in a peaceful dharna. Suddenly police reached the place and began to open fire without any provocation on the masses who were sitting in the dharna. Firing continued for nearly three hours. But the courageous people faced this firing and assault without running away from the site. In this police firing, Com Lalchand and his brother Com Bhola sacrificed their life on 19th January 1982, while 32 people were seriously injured due to the bullets. His brother Bhola was a leader of Kisan Sabha.
Be it in 1982 or 83 or 2014, Be it in UP or Andhra or Bengal, Be it fighting Trinamool, police or anti-social elements, see the thick marks drawn by the blood of courageous young hearts. They are never defeated.
(Picture- Comrade Saifuddin)