The Campaign Against War on People, a community of students and teachers of Delhi University, has condemned the April 9 incident at Jawaharlal Nehru University in which activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the National Students’ Union of India and the Youth for Equality allegedly disrupted a programme which was being held by the JNU Forum.
The ABVP and the NSUI members have claimed that the participants in the programme were “celebrating the deaths of CRPF personnel” at the hands of the Maoists. However, the JNU Forum Against War On People has claimed that it was only a cultural evening organised to protest against the Government’s Operation Green Hunt.
The Campaign Against War On People has in a statement alleged that the ABVP, the NSUI and the YFE activists had indulged in acts of hooliganism and has also accused the JNU administration of not taking action against them and of trying to propagate misinformation about the incident.
“The JNU administration has gone a step further on this occasion by joining the ABVP-BJP-NSUI- YFE chorus of branding the event as an ‘anti-national’ protest,” the statement said.
In Delhi University as well “selective administrative harassment” had taken place. The statement cited the incident of the “Janchetna” mobile book store which was reportedly attacked in January by the ABVP activists who allegedly tore books and damaged the van.
Alleging that the university administration usually did not clamp down on the perpetrators, the Campaign Against War On People has claimed that such incidents had been used as an excuse to wrest away limited democratic space through official-legal measures.
“Worldwide, universities have traditionally been a crucial space for freedom of expression, the exploration of ideas and critical debate,” the statement said, adding that democratic spaces were being robbed by force and those voices which were raising questions on “people’s misery, state repression and dismantling of democracy” were being silenced.
Demands have been put forward that the JNU administration should “apologise for their misinformation campaign” and also punishing those involved in tarnishing the democratic ethic of universities.