Students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) clashed over an event organised Tuesday on the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s death anniversary. Police were later deployed on campus to restore order.
The incident occurred at the tail end of a cultural evening organised by 10 students, formerly of the Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), at the Sabarmati Dhaba, against the execution of Afzal Guru and separatist leader Maqbool Bhat, and for Kashmir’s right to “self-determination”.
While the organisers originally got permission to hold the event, it was withdrawn after the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) complained to the administration. “We had earlier granted permission for a cultural evening, because we were not informed about the topic. When we were told it was in favour of Afzal Guru, we had to withdraw. The government of India hanged him after declaring him a terrorist. How could we allow them to organise an anti-Indian programme,” said the registrar Bupinder Zutshi.
The (ABVP) had called for a protest outside the 24×7 dhaba opposite the venue, against the “anti-national” activity. “This programme was anti-constitutional. Anyone who tries to portray a terrorist as a martyr will have to face us. We won’t allow such anti-national programmes on campuses,” said JNU Students’ Union Joint Secretary Saurabh Sharma.
ABVP’s protest call saw other groups including the All India Students’ Association (AISA), All India Students’ Federation (AISF) and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) coming to the spot in support of the DSU.
When the groups began their march to Ganga Dhaba, ABVP members blocked their way even as security personnel tried to maintain order. Police had to be called in eventually from the nearby Vasant Kunj police station. The ABVP has called for a university strike on Wednesday and asked for the rustication of the 10 students. Police said they have not received any complaints so far regarding the incident.