Two former JNU students, who were ABVP office-bearers at the time of the February 9, 2016 event on campus, Wednesday claimed the student outfit had “planned” the controversy to take attention away from Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
At a press conference, former JNU ABVP unit vice-president Jatin Goraiya and former joint-secretary Pradeep Narwal also claimed students present in a video shown by a news channel allegedly raising the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ were actually ABVP members or sympathisers.
The duo had resigned from ABVP in February 2016. “At the time, I remember Jatin and I, since we were Dalits, were told repeatedly to appear for TV interviews and defend ABVP after Vemula’s suicide, which we refused to do since they kept referring to him as a terrorist. With the February 9 event, they saw an opportunity to divert attention,” claimed Narwal. Goraiya claimed that before the February 9 event, the discussion on the JNU ABVP WhatsApp group focused on how to blow up the incident.
But former JNUSU joint-secretary Saurabh Sharma from the ABVP said, “They have joined the Congress and the press conference was organised on the directions of Rahul Gandhi, who wants to divert the issue with these lies and propaganda.” While Narwal has joined the Congress, Goraiya is not a member of the party.