Left, ABVP in JNU trade charges as students clash over non-veg food on Ram Navami
JNUSU and left members accused the ABVP of stopping students from having non-vegetarian food at Kaveri hostel. The ABVP, however, rejected the allegations.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh on Sunday accused Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members of stopping students from eating non-vegetarian food on campus and indulging in violence. Left members also accused ABVP members of resorting to stone-pelting in the evening in which some students were injured. The mess secretary was also allegedly attacked by ABVP students.
Deputy commissioner of police (Southwest) Manoj C said six persons from both sides have sustained minor injuries.
In pictures shared on social media by AISA members, some students -- said to be from Left groups -- can be seen bleeding profusely. ABVP members have also shared a video of an injured student.
"Friends, ABVP does it again. First, they tried to impose non-veg ban on everybody in Kaveri Hostel, and when common students stood up against #FoodFascism, the Sanghi goons resorted to all-out violence. Students are facing serious wounds," Ghose tweeted.
ABVP members also shared a video of an injured student and accused Left students of attacking ABVP students.
Earlier in the day, Ghosh had accused ABVP members of disrupting mess activity over non-veg food. “ABVP hooligans stopped residents inside JNU from having non Veg food. ABVP also assaulted the mess secretary of the Hostel,” Ghosh wrote on Twitter as she shared a video in which a group of students were seen in an altercation with each other.
AISA national president and former students' union member N Sai Balaji alleged that ABVP members had stopped Kaveri hostel residents from having non-vegetarian food. Balaji claimed that ABVP members had assaulted the mess secretary. “Will JNU VC condemn ABVP hooliganism? Is it her vision to curtail students’ choice of food?” Balaji tweeted.
The Left students alleged that ABVP students on campus assaulted the mess secretary around 4 pm when the mess committee was collecting meat packets from the vendor for the preparation of dinner.
“The hostel mess committee which is elected by the students themselves decides the food menu for different days. As per the pre-decided mess menu, non-vegetarian food is cooked for non-vegetarian students on Sunday, while paneer is prepared for vegetarian students. ABVP students, however, raised objections to the preparation of non-vegetarian food on account of Ram Navami. They said that they were organising a Ram Navami event around the hostel and will ensure that no non-vegetarian food is cooked,” said a first-year PhD student, who did not wish to be named.
He added that when mess committee members went out to collect the meat packets from the vendors, they were manhandled by ABVP members, who did not allow them to collect the parcels.
“Members from the mess committee were talking to ABVP members but the conversation turned aggressive and ABVP members first manhandled the mess secretary and later, beat him up,” added the student.
Following the incident, the JNUSU called for a meeting of all organisations against what it called the “the Hindutva policing of the right to food”.
In a written statement, the JNUSU said ABVP members had created a violent atmosphere at Kaveri hostel. “They are forcing and attacking the mess committee to change the dinner menu and exclude the usual non-vegetarian items in it for all students. The menu has food items for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian students who can consume it based on their personal choice,” read the statement.
Rejecting the allegations, ABVP's JNU president Rohit Kumar said: "Left and NSUI workers created a ruckus during puja in the university on the occasion of Ram Navami. There is no angle of non-vegetarian food. They have a problem with programmes on the occasion of Ram Navami."
He added that ABVP members had neither assaulted any student nor created any disruption in the preparation of non-vegetarian food. "Students had organised a Ram Navami puja at the hostel today. Left members from the AISA started raising slogans and disrupting the puja. However, the puja was successfully conducted," he said.
Kumar added that the ABVP had no involvement in either holding the puja or disrupting any mess activity, as claimed by Left students.
The DCP said currently, the situation is peaceful. Both the student parties are protesting peacefully. “Appropriate legal action will be taken on receipt of the complaint,” he said.