The Jawaharlal Nehru University row took another turn on Wednesday after three members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) resigned from their posts stating the current government’s actions were “hooliganism, not nationalism”.
“JNU is the most nationalist institution in the country. I do not support the government’s stand over the issue. Let Supreme Court find Kanhaiya guilty and award him life imprisonment. But let the law take its course. There should be no ‘Taliban culture’ in India,” said Pradeep Narwal, former Joint Secretary of JNU unit of ABVP said a day after he posted his resignation on his Facebook page.
Rahul Yadav, president of the School of Social Sciences ABVP unit and Ankit Hans, secretary of the same unit, were also named in the letter that stated they were disassociating themselves from the student wing of the BJP because of how “the NDA government was tackling the whole issue”. Narwal further cited the long standing difference of opinion with the BJP on Manusmriti, the traditional Hindu law book, and the Rohith Vemula incident as reasons behind the decision to quit ABVP.
“We think there is a difference between interrogation and crushing ideology, and branding entire left as anti-national,” Narwal wrote. Given their objections, he said the three of them refused to be a “mouthpiece for such a government which has unleashed oppression on the student community”. They accused the NDA of “legitimising the action of right wing fascist forces” and slammed O P Sharma for attacking student protesters at the Patiala House court. “Every day we see people assemble at front gate with the Indian flag to beat JNU students… you can’t do anything in the name of nation. There is a difference between nationalism and hooliganism,” the student leader said.
While the ABVP senior leaders are claiming that the three students have been “influenced” to protest against the party and divert the whole issue, Hans said, “This is our individual decision. We have not done this under anybody’s influence. “
“Anti-national slogans on February 9 on (JNU) campus were very unfortunate and heart breaking. Whosoever responsible for that act must be punished as per the law but the way NDA government tackling the whole issue, the oppression on professors, repeated lawyer attacks on media and Kanhaiya Kumar in court premises is unjustifiable,” Narwal said, protesting against what he sees as state-controlled tyranny.
From the start of the controversy, many students maintained their disapproval of the anti-India slogans allegedly raised at the JNU event which sparked the row. Members across various student bodies on campus spoke out against the slogans, and later supported the student body president Kanhaiya Kumar when he was arrested on Friday in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy.
Narwal reflected the sentiment but countered claims that no anti-national slogans were raised. “We want to stress that veiled persons in the event organized by former DSU persons shouted slogans ‘Bharat tere tukadde honge’ (India will be broken into pieces) of which there is concrete evidence in videos. So we demand any person responsible for the slogans be punished as per the law,” he said, adding that anti-India slogans would not be tolerated.
The three students, also maintained that they will not join the ongoing strike by the students demanding release of Kumar.
Narwal also hit out at the media, Zee News in particular, for attacking JNU as an institution in whole. “People are circulating #SHUTDOWNJNU but I think they must circulate #SHUTDOWNZEENEWS… this biased news media related the act done by few people to the whole student community. We condemn the media trial which has culminated in an anti-JNU sentiment throughout the country… JNU is considered as one of the progressive and democratic institution where we can see intermingling of people from lower to upper income strata of the society, notion of equality,” Narwal said.