I was treated like a criminal: Interview with Koonal Duggal, Dalit research scholar at EFLU | The News Minute

Thursday’s events at the English and Foreign Languages University were nearly a repeat of what happened to Koonal Duggal on Ambedkar Jayanti. On Ambedkar Jayanti, security guards interrupted Koonal Duggal’s speech on “Why Ambedkar Jayanti is also a moment of challenge and not only celebration”. It was to be followed by a song of resistance by Faiz Ahmed Faiz during the event organized on the campus to mark Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary. Koonal was physically removed from the campus and says he was treated like a criminal.

Source: I was treated like a criminal: Interview with Koonal Duggal, Dalit research scholar at EFLU | The News Minute

Round Table India – Who is Koonal Duggal, the “anti-university” activist from EFLU?

That morning, Koonal had joined fellow Ambedkarite students and members of the SC ST Employees’ Association to participate in a small function paying homage to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Koonal was one of the invited speakers. He spoke about why our engagements and convictions in Ambedkar have greater relevance in today’s context where young Dalit scholars, like Rohith Vemula and others, are being isolated and alienated to the point of self-annihilation. He then sang a revolutionary song by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, “Hum Dekhenge..”, when four security guards entered the venue. As soon as he finished the song, the security guards surrounded Koonal, grabbed his hand and attempted to take him away from the programme. When students and faculty intervened, they said that they were acting on orders from the Proctor, who had given specific instructions to disallow Koonal from entering the premises except with permission of University authorities. Students were not given any explanation or shown the official circular with details of the disciplinary action. In addition to the fact that by then the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations had come to a standstill, the atmosphere had become chaotic and the audience could not pay attention to the rest of the speakers. The security guards were then told to at least respect the sentiments of the participants and wait till the end of the programme.

 

Round Table India – Who is Koonal Duggal, the “anti-university” activist from EFLU?

 

Here is “Hum Dekhenge” beautifully sung by Koonal Duggal at a solidarity meet at the University of Hyderabad.