Days after busts of V D Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose were installed outside Delhi University’s Arts Faculty, they were removed by ABVP-led DU Students’ Union (DUSU) late Friday night. The DUSU had, by its own admission, installed the busts late Tuesday night.
The DU administration had earlier said they had been assured by the student outfit that the busts would be taken down, since they were installed without prior permission. Following the installation of the busts, ABVP had distanced itself from DUSU president Shakti Singh.
However, the ABVP said it has been “assured by the University of Delhi that the reinstallation of these busts will be done through required procedure after DUSU polls”, which are scheduled for September 12.
ABVP state secretary Sidharth Yadav said, “It is very unfortunate that the DU administration has turned a deaf ear to DUSU’s demand for installation of busts of freedom fighters for a very long time. The university should restore these idols, as per their assurances at the earliest.”
Calling the move the “murder of the students’ union”, DUSU chief Singh said, “This move is an insult to the martyrs and I strongly condemn it. The DU administration is hell bent on murdering the students’ union, like in other universities. In the coming days, I, along with a huge number of students, will protest against the DU administration. I wanted to resolve this issue through dialogue, but they have lost that opportunity now.”
Meanwhile, the NSUI, which had protested the installation of Savarkar’s bust along with Left organisations AISA, SFI and AAP’s CYSS, welcomed the move. NSUI had Wednesday allegedly blackened Savarkar’s bust and put a garland of shoes around it.
NSUI state president Akshay Lakra, who had led the protest, said, “ABVP has failed to make V D Savarkar a ‘veer’ (hero). NSUI never wanted to create any hooliganism or nuisance in the campus, but we won’t tolerate infiltration of any type of fake nationalism. We will continue to raise sensible issues for DU students. We are confident that we will secure the upcoming DUSU polls with a record mandate.”
AICC in-charge of NSUI Ruchi Gupta said, “The principled opposition by the NSUI and the natural outrage by students and general public alike has compelled the removal of the statue. We hope this will serve as a reminder to the ABVP that students will not be misled by their false propaganda.”
The ABVP had filed a police complaint against NSUI for allegedly blackening Savarkar’s bust, demanding “stringent legal action”. Yadav said, “Student organisations associated with the Left ideology, CYSS and NSUI, have stooped very low and have given a major blow to the culture of debate and discussion prevalent in the university. ABVP strongly believes the Left, AAP and the student organisations affiliated to Congress should stop insulting freedom fighters to meet their trivial political interests.”
DU Proctor Neeta Sehgal did not respond to repeated calls and texts. She had earlier told The Sunday Express that the ABVP office-bearers had assured her the bust would be taken down.