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Rama Navami | Students clash at JNU hostel over non-vegetarian food

An injured student is made to lie down after a clash between student unions over non-vegetarian food during Navratri at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on April 10, 2022.

An injured student is made to lie down after a clash between student unions over non-vegetarian food during Navratri at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on April 10, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Students clashed at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) Kaveri Hostel on Sunday evening and several students were injured after a puja was organised at the hostel on the occasion of Ram Navami.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) said that students were attacked by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) after they protested against the ABVP’s demand that non-vegetarian food be taken off the hostel’s dinner menu. The ABVP in turn blamed the violence on members of Left organisations on the campus.

The JNUSU said that, earlier in the day, members of the ABVP had stormed the Kaveri Hostel mess and had demanded that non-vegetarian items be taken off the dinner menu, and the union had called for an all-organisation meeting to condemn the incident.

The ABVP denied that it had demanded the removal of non-vegetarian items from the menu and alleged that rumours were being spread by some students. “Common students were organising a puja on the occasion of Ram Navami at the Kaveri Hostel. Members of Left-leaning organisations at first disrupted the puja, due to which it got delayed, and then after it was over, [they] attacked students who attended the puja,” Shivam Chaurasia, president of the ABVP’s JNU unit said

The JNUSU, however, said that the APVP in a “display of their politics of hatred and divisive agenda”, had created a violent atmosphere at the Kaveri Hostel, and was forcing and attacking the mess committee to change the dinner menu and exclude the usual non-vegetarian items in it for all students. The JNUSU in a statement said that the menu had food items for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian students, who can consume it based on their personal choice. But the ABVP was using muscle power to create a ruckus by manhandling the staff and asking them not to prepare any non-vegetarian items. 

“The JNU and its hostels are meant to be inclusive spaces for all and not one particular section. Students from different physical, social and cultural backgrounds have different food preferences that must be respected and catered to. This act of ABVP’s only signifies their exclusionary politics and Right -wing Hindutva policies to hegemonise democratic and secular spaces like the JNU,” said Aishe Ghosh, president of the JNUSU. She added that the Delhi Police was also present at the time of the incident but remained a mute spectator as the violence ensued.

The ABVP said that the university was witnessing a peaceful simultaneous celebration of Iftaar and Ram Navami but Leftist students had tried to create a ruckus by bringing up the issue of non-vegetarian food. The ABVP said in a statement: “ABVP confirms that this event was organized by hostel residents only. This act of politicising a religious celebration by left, is a shameful act and ABVP condemns it.”

Both the JNUSU and the ABVP said that they would organise protests on the campus against the violence.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 2:27:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/students-clash-at-jnu-hostel-over-non-vegetarian-food/article65309582.ece