THE Registrar of Jai Narain Vyas University in Jodhpur has filed a police complaint against JNU professor Nivedita Menon over her alleged remarks about Kashmir and the Indian Army during a speech on campus that triggered protests by ABVP members leading to a shutdown in the university Friday.
Confirming the move, the university’s vice-chancellor R P Singh quoted Menon as saying that Kashmir was not an integral part of India and that soldiers worked for their livelihood and not the nation. Menon denied the charges and said that an “unnecessary controversy” had been created “based on rumours”.
“The university r0egistrar filed a complaint, along with a report of what happened. We will be conducting an inquiry based on which we will decide whether to file an FIR or not,” Jodhpur Police Commissioner Ashok Rathore told The Indian Express.
A professor at the School of International Studies at JNU, Menon had been invited by the JNVU’s English department to deliver a lecture Thursday on the topic, ‘History reinterpreted: nation, individual and culture’.
“The university has lodged a complaint against Nivedita Menon and one of the organisers, Rajshree Ranavat, who also announced while introducing Menon that she is famous for her views on Kashmir. Today, some children from the ABVP and some faculty members shut down the university in protest. I have set up a three-member committee to look into the matter,” V-C R P Singh told The Indian Express.
“She spoke about two-three objectionable things…that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and India should give up claims on Siachen…and that soldiers work for their livelihood and not for the nation, etc.,” Singh claimed.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Menon rejected the allegations and claimed that the “entire controversy has been kicked up based on the account of one former professor…who is an RSS supporter”.
“I never said anything about Kashmir being illegally occupied by India…the organiser introduced me as someone who had said so in an earlier speech from last year. Secondly, the point about showing India’s map upside down…that was a picture from the Himal magazine, which points out that the world is round and that nations are not natural objects but imagined constructs,” said Menon.
“Regarding the soldiers, I said that the Army is also a means of livelihood and that if we loved our soldiers why do we treat them badly,” she said.
“I did make a distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva, saying the latter is a political ideology that I am opposed to. What I basically said was not anti-national but anti-RSS and Hindutva and if that is a crime today then I don’t know what to say,” said Menon.
JNVU assistant professor and event organiser Rajshree Ranavat was not available for comment. However, her colleague and associate professor Satish Harit said Ranavat had only introduced Menon. “We had invited the professor for the lecture. How were we to know that she would say something objectionable? The organisers had only introduced her,” said Harit.