The recent incident at Jawaharlal Nehru University can be understood only in the backdrop of the incidents of violence and chaos that have been going on for the last 50 years. The Left considers this university its stronghold and since its establishment (April 22, 1969), it has dominated JNU’s politics. Frequent violent episodes have occurred in this period.
The young today might incorrectly assume that JNU has been in the headlines only after the coming of a non-Left government in 2014. The Economic and Political weekly, a journal held in high regard by communists, carried an article on July 9, 1983, which stated: “JNU is again in news. News of the smallest incidents JNU finds prominent place in the media. This time even the BBC was fascinated by JNU.”
In 1983, leftist politics on campus became so violent and uncontrollable that the university had to be closed for a year. Even the leftist masters of propaganda will not be able to accuse someone else for the large-scale violence of that period — no other ideologies, especially the nationalist one, had been allowed to enter JNU at the time. The then vice-chancellor, P N Srivastava, told the media that rowdy students had forcefully entered his house, destroyed his property and looted his 35-year deposits. Harjit Singh, who was the warden of Jhelum Hostel, witnessed the horrors of a rampaging mob of communists breaking into his house. These teachers were accused by leftist students of being “nationalists”. In this violence, teachers who subscribed to the Left ideology were engaged in instigating the students and making plans for them. After this incident, a contingent of paramilitary forces had to be deployed in the campus for a fairly long time.
It is worth noting that during the Emergency, when there was opposition to the authoritarian government all over the country, a section of the communists of JNU were silent. This was because a major left party had declared its support for the Emergency. Many major incidents of violence also occurred in the 1990s. In 2000, a sensational case of violence in JNU was alleged in Parliament by BJP MP B C Khanduri. In the open auditorium of JNU, a mushaira was organised by leftist organisations. They had called in poets from Pakistan.
There some couplets were sung describing India as bad and Pakistan as good, and from the stage, lines were read condemning India’s action in the recent Kargil war. Two Indian soldiers —who were on leave — were sitting in audience and had themselves taken part in Kargil. They stood up to oppose what was happening. The leftists beat them up and threw them outside the main gate.
In 2005, there was a controversy on the arrival of the then Prime Minister of India to JNU, which resulted in violence. In 2010, when 76 CRPF jawans were killed in a Maoist attack in Dantewada, there was mourning across the country. But at the Godavari Dhaba in JNU, it was alleged that Left groups celebrated the event. In 2013, there was a celebration of “Mahisasura Day” and a pamphlet was distributed which disparaged Durga. Naturally the sentiments of Hindus and Sikhs were hurt by this programme.
In 2016, in JNU, the incident of the alleged slogan of “Bharat tere tukde honge” on the death anniversary of the terrorist Afzal Guru is deeply engraved in the memory of our society. Among those anti-India slogans, there was also “Aaein Hindustan ka, manzoor nahi, manzoor nahi”. “Aaein” means constitution in Persian.
The destructive politics played by the anti-India forces, using JNU as a platform, has three targets — the unity and integrity of its faith and culture and the Constitution. A university is meant to be a centre for study and research. But for the last two-and-a-half months, almost all educational activities in JNU have ceased due to aggression by some people who claim to belong to the Left. These include teachers, students and external elements as well.
The main building of the JNU administration has been occupied for the last 60 days. They also interrupted the semester examination to be held in November-December. Apart from preventing the students from going to their classrooms, these people used pressure from teachers and administrators who subscribe to Left ideology. In order to justify their actions, they sometimes mention the hostel fee as their issue, at others the withdrawal of Article 370 and more recently, the CAA.
Students affiliated to Left groups in JNU issued a decree that no student will register herself for the new semester starting January 1. If the students don’t register, then neither the class nor any examination will be conducted in the university.
The country has begun to realise that any idea that challenges the unity and integrity of India seems to have a connection with the leftists who use JNU as their base. It cannot be a mere coincidence that Naxalite, Maoist, jihadi and separatist forces always appear to find some kind of support from the leftists of JNU.
This article first appeared in the print edition on January 9, 2020 under the title ‘A history of violence’. The writer is the national joint organising secretary of the ABVP.
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