'People think we are tukde tukde but…': JNU VC on Ram Navami clash
Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University Prof Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit on Wednesday said there is a misconception about JNU among the people. "I want to correct the public perception that we are tukde-tukde....after I've taken over I've not seen anybody talking like that. We are as nationalistic as anybody else," the VC said to news agency ANI after the university witnessed a violent clash between the ABVP and the Left group allegedly over the menu of the Kaveri hostel mess on Ram Navami.
"JNU is a free university. We respect individuals' choices. It's a melting pot of all identities. Young people have opinions and we appreciate diversity and dissent but let's not end up having violence," the VC said adding that the university authorities are waiting for the proctorial inquiry report of the incident. "The issue erupted on whether 'Ram Navami Havan' should be conducted and regarding the food menu. These are the versions of the two groups. The proctorial inquiry was ordered and we are waiting for reports. It will be an impartial inquiry," she added.
On Sunday, ABVP and the Left union accused each other of stoking violence on the campus over cooking of chicken. Videos and photos of assault were shared on social media. The Left group claimed that ABVP assaulted the Left members over the cooking of chicken on Ram Navami. The ABVP claimed the Left students attacked their Ram Navami prayer ceremony.
Meanwhile, a meat seller who has been delivering meat to the JNU hostel mess claimed that some students called him and said that chicken should not be supplied to the varsity's Kaveri hostel on Ram Navami. "It has never happened that I have been asked not to supply meat (at hostels) as there is a festival being celebrated," Afzal Ahmed told news agency PTI. The callers were from the university and he knew them, he said. "On the morning of April 10, I got a call from some JNU students asking me not to supply meat to the Kaveri Hostel. I told them that I had received the order on April 9. But they threatened me saying if I supplied meat to the hostel, they would ensure that I am not able to supply meat to other JNU hostels. I told them I will come down and speak to them," he told PTI.
(With agency inputs)