Over 350 students of NSS Hindu College, Changanacherry formed a human wall outside the campus and headquarters building of the Nair Service Society (NSS) on Thursday, expressing solidarity with the women's wall campaign that is to be organised statewide in Kerala on January 1, 2019.
The programme was organised by the SFI at the NSS-owned college at a time when Kerala's CPIM-led Left government and the organisation remain at loggerheads over the mass campaign. NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair had criticised the move stating that the wall would create a wedge in the society and had asked why such renaissance was only meant for women and not for men.
The student wall saw girls forming a long wall along the roadside in front of the campus premise which is situated adjacent to the NSS headquarters, holding pro-renaissance and gender equality placards, boards and balloons.
"Don't make Kerala an asylum again; Students' solidarity to the women's wall" read the main banner.
Minutes after the programme concluded and the students dispersed for their classes, the ABVP unit of the college conducted a counter campaign where they sprinkled cow dung water in the premises where the wall was formed by the girls to "purify" it.
With photos of their cadres sprinkling the liquid, an ABVP leader wrote on Facebook: "ABVP's purification in Mannathu Padmanabhan's (NSS founder) soil, where Pinarayi's SFI earlier held a wall to ruin our culture."
"Cow dung water is generally sprinkled by the priesthood and other upper-caste Hindus if a place gets polluted by the touch or presence of an untouchable. ABVP has shown how Brahminic their politics is through this programme. This is exactly why they are enraged over renaissance campaigns and other progressive movements," said Subin Sabu, area secretary of the SFI.
The SFI also alleged that the RSS-backed students' outfit was purposely trying to create problems during the campaign.
"They didn't let many girls come to the campus fearing they might also join the wall. They gathered their cadres on the opposite side of the road and were trying to engage in spats with our supporters. Also, the college management is oppressive taking action against students for taking part in such campaigns, which generally happen before the regular classes begin," said SFI Kottayam district joint-secretary Justin Joseph.
However, the ABVP said the SFI was misleading and tricking the students to take part in the campaign.
"Neither the SFI nor the CPIM is telling anyone what is the real motive behind the women's wall. They lied to the students to make them participate in today's campaign. Students were told the programme was a pro-Asifa (Kathua rape victim) one and their real agenda was hidden. We don't support making students stand under the sun for their political gains, but didn't do anything casteist out there," said Mrudul Sudhan, Nagar general secretary of the ABVP.
SFI, the student wing of the CPIM has been forming student walls across Kerala colleges in support of the state-wide campaign which is being staunchly opposed by the opposition UDF and BJP, along with organisations like NSS, KCBC and the RSS.
Lakhs of women are expected to line up for the "Vanitha mathil" from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod, extending their support to the state government’s resolve to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages access to the shrine and to protect the secular and progressive values of Kerala.