The most sought after Presidential debate at the Jawaharlal Nehru University elections had to be abruptly halted after the students attacked a speaker for using unsavory language against Lord Ram on Wednesday night.
Earlier this year, the minority community party, the Bahujan Samaj Front had distributed pamphlets demeaning the Hindu deity, whereby hurting Hindu sentiments.
Following individual presidential candidate speeches, Amit Kumar from Bharatiya Janta Party supported Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, questioned Raghunath Prasad Saket (BSF) if the party regretted the act. An unapologetic Saket took responsibility for the act and adding fuel to the fire, made further derogatory remarks. This was enough to provoke the crowd, which was unquestionably upset.
The crowd went violent hurling shoes, stones among other things. The angry ABVP activists attacked the election committee, beat the Bahujan Samaj Front candidates, pulled down tents, cut electricity and broke furniture. Police force had to be called in to control the mob. “The reaction was a reflection of ABVP’s extremists ideology. It was clearly a suggestion of shrinking democratic space in most campuses. There were 15 outsiders, most came drunk, and some even carried hockey sticks and bats. The reaction was planned and in no way spontaneous,” said Serohi, a supporter from Democratic Students Union.
Condemning the act, Anand Pandey, National Students Union of India supporter said, “It was a completely undemocratic act and against the very ethos of JNU elections. It was apparently a war between extremist beliefs – Casteism versus Religiosity. While Saket should have abstained from upsetting religious sentiments of the crowds, ABVP should have controlled their tempers.” Desite all chaos and near-riot situation, polling will take place on Thursday.