The organisers of ‘Mahishasura Divas’ in JNU have claimed they had not released the pamphlet read out by HRD minister Smriti Irani in Parliament.
In 2011, a group of students came together to celebrate ‘Mahishasura Divas’ to honour the belief held by some communities that worship him. Since then the event was held every year except for last year, organizers said.
“The pamphlet the minister read in Parliament on Wednesday was not written by me or any of the members. The pamphlet she is seen holding in the speech was never used in any JNU poster. It might be a pamphlet released by some other party making allegations against us,” said Anil Kumar, who was a PhD student when the event took place.
JNU had witnessed clashes in 2011 over the hosting of the event by All India Backward Students Forum (AIBSF) but it continued to take place till 2014.
“The minister said we are of depraved mentality. We have a brave mentality and that is why we question the beliefs of the majority,” Kumar said.
Kumar, an AIBSF member, denied that his organization made derogatory comments against goddess Durga. “What the pamphlet alleges against us is different from what we are. You want to worship her, you are free but then we should also be free to worship who we want,” he said.
Kumar said BJP MP Udit Raj participated in the event in 2013. “We celebrate it as a tribute to the demon king Mahishasura, who was killed by the goddess Durga. Many adivasi (tribal) communities worship Mahishasura and believe that the gods plotted against him to kill him because he had threatened Brahmanical dominance. Why the government wants to dictate us whether we should worship Durga or Mahishasura?” he said.