There was uproar at JNU as a truck, cars and bikes, part of a rally by an RSS-affiliated organisation mobilising support for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, entered the campus around 9 am Wednesday.
Purported video clips of the procession shared on social media showed roughly 50 people carrying saffron flags and raising slogans such as ‘mandir wahin banega’. The JNU Student’s Union complained to the Vice-Chancellor against the “illegal entry” of the cavalcade, saying they had “vitiated” campus atmosphere by raising “communal slogans”.
The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), which organised the ‘Ram Mandir Sankalp Rath Yatra’ in the run-up to the Dharma Sabha called by VHP on December 9, and the ABVP accepted that such a rally went through JNU.
The university administration, however, dismissed the photos and videos as “fake”, and claimed some outsiders had come to JNU for a puja at a staff member’s residence.
SJM Delhi president Sushil Panchal claimed the yatra was moving with “full police protection”. “If the guards or police stopped us, we wouldn’t have entered the campus. Having said that, we don’t need permission to enter JNU. It is not an SEZ that we need permission. When all kinds of terrorists can enter the campus, why can’t our activists enter JNU?” Police, however, said no permission was sought.
ABVP JNU unit president Vijay Singh said “common students” of JNU were also part of the rally. “Even we have to show our identity cards to enter, so it’s not possible that the rally entered without permission. The JNUSU is no one to decide what is communal. If the anniversary of Afzal Guru’s hanging can be marked, why can’t an important national issue like Ram Mandir be raised?”
However, Additional Dean of Students Buddha Singh denied that any such rally had entered JNU. “There was no Ram Mandir rally and no question of permission. The videos and photos are all morphed and fake. Some staff had called in people for a puja at his house, that’s why there is some confusion.”
The JNUSU protested at the university main gate and wrote to the V-C demanding action against the chief security officer as well as the security agency. They also claimed police were not informed of the “security breach”.
“We were told by security personnel that there was no prior permission for such a rally organised by these outsiders on campus, who… were vitiating the campus environment with communal slogans and instigating an atmosphere of fear and violence… JNUSU is appalled by the lackadaisical attitude of JNU security, whose budget has been increased by 89% in the past two years. The JNU administration spends Rs 17 crore on security, with a major portion of the money being given to the security agency in charge of campus security. However, the attitude and response of JNU security and the agency raises concerns about their efficiency and commitment to keep the campus and its community members safe,” the JNUSU wrote.