Where is Sushil?
Sushil went missing from Jadavpur University (JU) boy's hostel on 2/02/2017. The very next day Sushil's elder brother Haradhan Mandi filed a complaint in Jadavpur police station citing that a group of few elite students (both male and female) from JU had ridiculed Sushil's dignity by carrying a series of posts on Facebook aiming at his brother's character assassination. He also informs that caste prejudice, hatred and contempt is at play behind Sushil's disappearance.
The civil society of our city takes to the street in solidarity with an upper caste drunkard, advocating his right to life. Their majestic processions occupy our grand avenues!
This same civil society hibernates when Sushil Mandi goes missing. Because Sushil Mandi belongs to Adivasi society. He is an Adivasi. He may be a scholar in an university, he may be a rare fruit of sweat and blood of countless toiling, laboring masses of the larger producing society, but why would the Bhadralok babus care? Why would the elite care? Their attentions are devoted in chewing and swallowing their Master's leftovers. They find happiness in their Master's happiness. Any menace posed towards their Masters is their menace too.
Sushil comes from the Santhal community of Dhanikhali's Rojipur village, Hugli District. His father Shibu Mandi is a laborer. He is enrolled as a M. Phil Scholar in Jadavpur University, after pursuing Civil Engineering from the same institution. Since last few years he has been active in social justice and political movements. Sushil has been playing an active role in JU's Hok Kolorob movement and Rohith Vemula Solidarity movement. Sushil has tirelessly worked to organize Dalit Bahujan Adivasi students within the campus. He also has been a member of the left aligned 'Radical' group in the university.
Unfolding of events
It has been known from sources, that the washrooms meant for students within the campus, were kept locked for a long time. Students had sent a notice to the university authorities on this regard, mentioning that they will break the locks if the authorities don't take any positive action by a mentioned date. 16th of last January was the day to break the locks. After this lock-breaking event, one of the female participant students (complainant) in the event, told her friend that "she was groped by a member of Radical, time and again" during the event and also wrote a post about it on Facebook. She had not mentioned the word "molestation" in that post or had taken Sushil's name. After this post, a member each from Radical and UDSF were asked to find a resolution to this matter. Both agreed upon asking for an apology from the 'accused' person, if he had been involved in any such violation. Thereafter the complainant named Sushil Mandi for such actions. When asked, Sushil said he is not aware of any such action, taking place from his side but he agreed to apologize if anyone had felt offended by any of his unconscious behavior. Both the students' organizations (Radical and UDSF) decided to have a common meeting, on the condition that Sushil won't be allowed to participate there. In that meeting the complainant said that Sushil Mandi had asked for a share of a cigarette (that she was holding) and improperly touched her at that point. When some members of Radical group demanded to hear Sushil's version on this, the rest of the students refused this demand. Thereafter USDF ran a public campaign against Sushil Mandi establishing him as a "molester", conferring mob judgment with several derogatory posts, one on their organization's own Facebook page and other joint posts.
Here it should be known that there is a functional "Internal Complaint Committee" and "Sexual Harassment Cell" in Jadavpur University. These members of UDSF never went there to file a complaint but chose to deliver judgment on their own. They brought severe disgrace to Sushil through repeated Facebook posts. Those who were involved in this campaign are predominantly Upper Caste men and women.
Sushil completely broke down after being publicly shamed in this manner. He stopped meeting friends. He also refrained from participating in the ongoing Bhangar movement, which he was earlier a part of. He felt empty from inside. All these years of struggle and sacrifice seemed worthless to him. His birth as a Adivasi itself was the greatest curse. He must have felt that there is no possibility for a Adivasi to progress in this social system. All those friendships, socializations and organizational dreams must have turned maliciously fake to him. Those elite liberal brains only know discrimination and hatred based on caste. An Adivasi or Dalit has nothing to benefit from their revolutionary rants and firebrand speeches.
Sushil went missing on 2/02/2017. It's been 10 days and there is no trace of him yet. Police and administration is still ineffective. Civil society intellectuals are taking a good nap, digesting their Master's leftovers inside their belly. We have only one path open to us. That is to secure self-determination and dignity through consistent struggle, rejecting their politics of hatred, which eventually lead us to self-destruction.
We take oath in the name of Rohith, Najeeb and Sushil, that we are undertaking the mission to provide a habitable world for our future generations. Let us all take the oath.
Our foremost goal is to bring back Sushil and Najeeb.
Written by Saradindu Uddipan, on behalf of Dalit Bahujan Self-Determination Movement and Jai Bhim Network.
This was first published as Facebook note in Bangla; it has been translated by Pinak Binak.