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Sedition to beef festival: 5 times JNU campus was on the boil

The recent protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) over a missing student turned volatile on Wednesday with students blocking the administrative building and locking up the vice-chancellor and other officials.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2016 14:52 IST
Nisheeth Upadhyay
Nisheeth Upadhyay
Hindustan Times
JNU,Jawahar Lal Nehru University,New Delhi
Students protest against the VC outside the administrative block in JNU over missing student in New Delhi.(Saumya Khandelwal/ HT Photo)

The disappearance of biotechnology student Najeeb Ahmed -- allegedly after being thrashed by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad -- has triggered protests at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, forcing officials to stay put in their offices.

The university is doing its best to locate a Muslim student missing for five days, the institution’s vice-chancellor said on Thursday, appealing to students to call off an ongoing protest.

Here are five controversies that surrounded the university in the past:

Sedition charge against student leader (2016)

Kanhaiya Kumar, who was then Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, was arrested on sedition chargesfor taking part in a controversial event on Kashmir, held at the university campus on February 9. Authorities said the event was held to commemorate the anniversary of the execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist for his role in an attack on Parliament in 2001.

The case became a rallying point for Opposition parties and free speech activists, who said the country had become increasingly intolerant since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was elected two years ago.

Row over Kashmir stalls at International Food Festival (2016)

The university’s International Food Festival, which is held every Republic Day, was mired in controversy this year when the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad objected to a few students setting up a Kashmir stall, saying only other countries should be allowed to set up counters.

The booking for the Kashmiri food stall was cancelled and international students organising the event were threatened with legal action, The Hindu reported.

‘Occupy UGC’ protest (2015)

Students of the JNU and a few other universities camped outside the University Grants Commission office weeks in protest against the scrapping of non-NET fellowships, which was provided to those undertaking research in central universities across India.

JNU Students during protest at JNU Campus against JNU Presidents Kanhaiya arrest by Delhi Police in New Delhi on February 12, 2016. (Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)

Hundreds of ‘Occupy UGC’ protesters faced lathi-charge, tear gas and water cannons when they tried to march to Parliament. Protesters were beaten up by policemen and some of them were seriously injured.

Mahishasur Diwas (2014)

Student groups engaged in a fist-fight at the university campus in 2014 over the All India Backward Students Forum’s plan to ‘Mahishasura Shahadat Diwas’. Mahishasura’s slaying by Goddess Durga is celebrated as Dussehra. The AIBSF distributed pamphlets that allegedly had “objectionable pictures” and text related to Durga. The JNU had witnessed clashes in 2011, too, over the hosting of the event.

Beef and pork festival (2012)

The JNU administration suspended one student and served show-cause notices to three others for planning to hold a beef and pork festival and for allegedly causing unrest in the campus. The beef and pork festival was being planned on the JNU campus in September, 2014. The Delhi high court, however, ruled that no such festival should be allowed as per the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act, 1994. The plan to hold the event also triggered protests from the ABVP and other student groups.

First Published: Oct 20, 2016 14:51 IST