ALLEGING THAT students from Kashmir had shown disrespect to the national anthem, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists from Jammu University on Friday disrupted the first inter-university sports championship being held here between students from the Valley and Jammu region.
Jammu University officials as well as students from the Valley denied the ABVP’s allegation. Prof Avatar Singh Jasrotia, Director of Jammu University’s Directorate of Sports and Physical Education, advised the protesters not to play politics over the issue of the national anthem. “When you behave like this even with those who have been paying respect to the national anthem here, what can you expect from those living in the Valley,” he said.
But citing a photograph which is being circulated on social media, purportedly showing two students from Kashmir talking to each other during the national anthem at the inaugural function on April 3, ABVP activists forcibly entered the Jammu University’s sports ground at about 11:10 am, during the football final between students of Jammu University and the Islamic University of Science and Technology. They raised slogans and held a sit-in protest.
Some students from the Valley said that the national anthem was even played in the middle of the football match on Friday, at the insistence of the ABVP activists. “We all stood up as a mark of respect, but they did not allow the match to be held even after that,” said a student from Kashmir who did not want to be named.
ABVP activists later disrupted the volleyball final, between the teams from Kashmir University and Jammu University, as well as the basketball final between NIIT Srinagar and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board University.
Jasrotia said these matches would be held on Saturday. However, Abhinav, an ABVP leader from Jammu University, said they would not allow the matches to be held until the Valley students apologised for showing “disrespect” to the national anthem.
The first inter university sports championship between students from Jammu region and Kashmir Valley was held following the suggestion of Governor N N Vohra, who is the Chancellor of all universities in the state. While the closing ceremony was to be held on April 9, it has now been advanced to April 8. Jasrotia, however, said this was due to the cancellation of Jammu University’s convocation, which was scheduled to be held on April 8.