"ShutdownJNU" became one of the most trending Twitter hashtags on Wednesday. This came in the wake of clashes between student organisations that rocked the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Tuesday after a group of students organised a protest meet to celebrate Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat. The varsity administration ordered a probe into the incident on Wednesday.
Mail Today was the first to report that organisers went ahead with the programme even though the varsity administration had revoked permission for it after a complaint was filed by rightwing students' body ABVP. While the administration claimed the "organisers had couched (the event) as a cultural one", the denial led to clashes between ABVP and Left organisations that supported the organisers.
The protesters allegedly flashed guns on campus. Police had to be called in. The incident also sparked a massive debate on social media sites as several videos of the night were shared and posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Slogans like "Kashmir ki azadi tak jung chalegi, Bharat ki barbadi tak jung chalegi" were reportedly raised at the protest meet. Taking note of this, the university administration has ordered the inquiry.
Meanwhile, the police told MAIL TODAY that they were going through the video footage of the entire incident. "We have recorded the entire incident and now we are in the process of scanning the footage to find out what kind of slogans were raised and identify those who raised them. If there is anything antinational, we will act according to the law. We are also recording the statement of students," said PS Kushwaha, additional DCP (South).
The JNU administration ordered the inquiry after the ABVP staged a protest outside the VC's office demanding rustication of those involved in the incident. The inquiry committee is to be headed by the chief proctor of JNU. The ABVP, meanwhile, has given a seven-day ultimatum to the administration to complete the inquiry and take action.
JNU vice-chancellor M Jagdesh Kumar claimed the the administration had been misled by organisers. "The permission for the programme was sought by giving incomplete information. So it is an act of indiscipline. A committee headed by the chief proctor will examine the footage of the event and speak to the witnesses. On the basis of the report, the varsity will take appropriate action," he said.
The registrar of the varsity, Bupinder Zutshi, said: "It was nowhere mentioned in the permission request that the event will be on Afzal Guru. Organisers said that they wanted to organise a cultural event. How can any talk about disintegration of nation be in national interest?" said Zutshi.
The ABVP is in no mood to let the matter die down anytime soon. It is preparing to write to the Centre for appropriate action. "We have decided to bring the matter to the notice of the Home Ministry, the Ministry of HRD and the Prime Minister's Office to appeal for action against such incidents of anti-nationalism," said Saurabh Kumar Sharma, the joint secretary of JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) and the lone SU member from ABVP.
Other members of the JNU students' union, who belong to left-backed organisations, disowned the protest against the event, saying it is ABVP's stand and not that of the JNUSU.