Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, including former and current members of the ABVP, burnt copies of the Manusmriti to protest against “derogatory verses” in the Hindu religious text.
The students chose International Women's Day to send out the message that anything derogatory towards women will not be tolerated.
“Today is women’s day and in order to oppose the derogatory remarks made against women in the Manusmriti, we have burnt certain portions of the text,” said Jatin Goraiya, vice-president of the ABVP unit in JNU. The students burnt the pages of the text that contained 40 “derogatory” references against women.
Some of the points included “2/213. It is the nature of the women to seduce men in this world, for that reason the wise are never unguarded in the company of females” and “2/214. Women, true to their class character, are capable of leading astray men in this world, not only a fool but even a learned and wise man. Both become slaves of desire”.
Pradeep Narwal, who recently left the ABVP citing “ideological differences,” was one of the main organisers of the event. He read out the 40 points before burning the pages of the text.
“I have problems with these 40 points that are derogatory towards women and Dalits. If anyone thinks I am not right, they can tell me,” he said.
The students raised slogans such as Manuwad ho barbad, Brahmanwad ho barbad and Jatiwad ho barbad.
Given the recent controversy over the Afzal Guru event, the university administration had raised objections but the organisers said permission for such an event was not required as it would not pose any threat to the law and order situation.
“The administration seems to be acting really cautiously these days. They objected to the event but we told them that this will not endanger the law and order situation in the university in any way so we went ahead with it,” Mr Narwal said.
A security guard from the university administration took videos of the event.