A group of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief chief Amit Shah, Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse and others to mark the “victory of truth over falsehood” on the occasion of Dussehra.
Members of the Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) on Tuesday night celebrated Dussehra by burning the effigy of Modi and others to protest against the growing interference of the Centre in universities and attacks on Dalits.
“We celebrated the victory of truth over falsehood in a modern and democratic country by burning effigies. For us Modi and RSS are symbol of untruth,” said Sunny Diman, an NSUI member.
On Wednesday, vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar tweeted: “The effigy burning incident at JNU was brought to our notice. We are investigating the matter and examining all relevant information”.
The students maintained that the effigies did not symbolise Ravana – known as the demon king. “There are communities who worship Ram and there are Adivasi communities who worship Ravana also. So, for us it was not Ravana or Ram whose effigy needs to be burnt. We just wanted to symbolize the victory of truth over falsehood,” said Diman.
Dhiman alleged that ever since new vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar had taken over, there was growing vigilantism in the university. He cited the recent cases of students getting showcause notices over burning the effigy of Gujarat government and Gaurakshaks (cow vigilantes).
“Another student was sent a notice for writing Jai Bhim on the JNU administration block’s wall. Students routinely burnt effigies of leaders earlier also to protest but now the administration sends showcause notices at the drop of hat,” he said.
Besides Modi, Shah and Godse, the effigies burnt by NNSUI had faces of Yoga guru Ramdev, sadhvi Pragya, Asaram Bapu and the JNU V-C.
“The effigy-burning was to symbolise our dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people,” said Diman, who was NSUI’s presidential candidate in the recently-concluded JNU students’ union polls.
JNU has been in the eye of storm since the start of this year. In February, a group of students held an event on 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. Following the event, former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and two other students were arrested in a case of sedition.