Interview with Sandeep Wathar

Sandeep Wathar, an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering
at VPDPGH College of Engineering and Technology, Karnataka is against war. He
was attacked by members of the ABVP and BJP on 2 March 2019 inside the college
campus for his alleged ‘anti-national’ social media posts. Sandeep had
criticized the BJP government for fomenting war hysteria. As a junior faculty
in his thirties, his position is vulnerable. His appeal for solidarity from
wider society compelled us to conduct the following interview. It is a brief
testament to what fascist victimization looks like in every corner of India

Q: From available reports, it is clear that you were
attacked for your anti-war views. Could you please tell us how the attack was
A:  It is my conscious and firmly held conviction that
war should never be an option.  Coming to
the incident, it falls into the usual pattern through which BJP frames anyone opposed
to its views as ‘anti-national’. I have been treated exactly the same way as
many others. First they went through my social media (Facebook) profile. Then
they identified a post with the Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan’s picture and video.
I had used the F*** word in relation to the BJP. They took screenshots and
messed it up by adding nonsensical observations.  Then they tried attacking me physically inside
the college but my colleagues and other staff members rescued me. 
Q: Since the attack, are you being threatened? Have you
received support and solidarity from any quarter?
A: Yes. These fringe drunken lunatics have made threatening
phone calls but there is no serious threat as of now. However, I am worried
about my father. My students are helping me out. They share my other social
media posts where I have highlighted corruption, climate change, environment,
economic inequality. I thank them for their support.
Q: Despite the attack and your
uncertain future, you are upholding the right to freedom of speech?
A: It is not just my freedom of speech which is being
threatened. This is about India’s freedom to exist as a democratic polity and
society in the future. Everyone and everything which goes against the BJP’s
policies and positions are at risk. I am certain many will agree with me that I
am not exaggerating. Lies have become the order of the day but I still hope
truth will prevail. 
The interview was conducted by Vikalp team member
Suchetana Chattopadhyay