Candlelight vigil commemorates 1953 martyrs

Jan 2015-NSF vigil for 1953 martyrs

By Shahid Husain
The News International, Friday, January 09, 2015

The National Students Federation (NSF) held a candlelight vigil in memory of martyrs of 1953 students’ movement in front of the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

Page ii (insert) with list of students killed on Jan 7- Jan 8, 1953

Students Herald: Page ii (insert) with list of students killed on Jan 7- Jan 8, 1953

Some two dozen students took part in the vigil with the organisers from Sindh and Punjab also coming from their respective areas to join the event.

A statement issued by the federation said, “NSF believes that had there been campus democracy and movements like 8th January, 1953 were built our country would not have plunged into the darkness. We would not be witnessing grave consequences of extremist-religious outfits today.”

A large-sized banner was raised outside the KPC inscribed with ‘8 January kay shudah ko surkh salam (Red salute to the martyrs of 8th January).

NSF Punjab organizer Noor e- Maryam, and Central Organizing Committee’s general secretary Mian Naveed, hailing from Faisalabad, and Sindh organizer Mir Askari Abbas, were also present in the vigil.

The participants chanted slogans in favour of campus democracy and against the prevalent extremist religious ideology. They demanded restoration of unions in colleges and universities as promised by the former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

“If campus democracy is restored and strengthened, it will be a setback to the growing extremism because it is in our universities that fundamentalism and terrorists’ outfits are bred. The students, who are future of this country, will instead join democratic forces in their education institutes and will fight against the fundamentalists and their organisations,” said Mian Naveed.

Insert pg i

From Students Herald special issue, Jan 1953

Maryam was of the opinion that it was high time that we looked back to look forward. “We can learn a lot from the student’s movement of 1953 and it could be a way forward towards a democratic society. Rather than glorifying extremists we should follow the legacy of the martyrs of 8th January who laid their lives for a better future of students and educational opportunities in the country.”

NSF Karachi General Secretary Fawad Hasan said that the event was the signal that student’s politics was being revived and comrades from Punjab had also participated with full vigour and zeal. “There is only one way to eliminate the acceptability of religious extremism in the minds of younger generation and that is through reviving student politics and campus democracy.”

Meanwhile, a meeting was also held at PMA House under the umbrella of old NSFians to pay homage to the martyrs of 1953 when students were fired upon by the reactionary government of the time. Amongst others, veteran trade union leader Usman Baloch and ex-president NSF Lateef Chaudhry were present.

(ends)

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