‘Scapegoating of a young student’: TISS teachers’ association condemns cop action against 21-year-oldUpdated: Feb 09, 2020 12:59 IST
Two days after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences Students’ Union (TISSSU) released a statement condemning the sedition charges filed against one of their fellow students, the TISS Teachers’ Association (TISSTA) has extended its support to the students.
The 21-year-old trans-identified student, whose name given at birth is Urvashi, but who uses the name Kris Chudawala, is among the 51 people against whom the Mumbai Police registered a first information report (FIR) on the complaint of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kirit Somaiya on February 2. They were booked for allegedly raising slogans in support of Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam, also charged with sedition, at the Mumbai Pride Solidarity Gathering on February 1.
In a statement released on Saturday, TISSTA termed the Mumbai Police’s move as “scapegoating” of a young student and others. “The individual scapegoating of a young trans person, as well as other TISS students participating in a peaceful march whose actions have been taken out of context and twisted to suit a pre-determined agenda, is part of a larger attempt to undermine an academic institution that stands for Constitutional rights and social justice,” read the statement.
It further added: “The revelation of the identity of a young trans student, who is only exercising their democratic right to protest, amounts to harassment and is tantamount to a hate crime…The student has been maliciously projected as being a traitor to the nation, firstly by politically motivated individuals on social media, and amplified by some sections of the media.”
The FIR uses Chudawala’s birth name Urvashi, instead of her assumed name. Earlier this week, a sessions court rejected Chudawala’s anticipatory bail plea and the student has moved the Bombay high court now.
TISSTA also condemned the alleged attempts by “politically-vested interests to defame the institution”. “The immense contribution of TISS and its commitment to marginalised communities is being systematically devalued by projecting it as a space that promotes activities that undermine the nation,” the statement read.