Students of opposite groups in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) clashed with each other on the death anniversary of the Afzal Guru, who was convicted in the 2001 parliament attack case.
The campus turned into the battleground and police was deployed in the university to restore law and order.
A poster was pasted all across the campus that read: “There will be an art and a photo exhibition portraying the history of the occupation of Kashmir and the people’s struggle against it.”
The clashes started at the end of a cultural evening orgainsed by ten students formerly of Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) at the Sabarmati Dhaba against the execution of Afzal Guru and separatist leader Maqbool Bhat and the right to “self-determination” for Kashmir.
The university authorities revoked the permission for the protest after the Akhil Bharatiya Parishad (ABVP) complained about this protest.
Vice-Chancellor M Jagdesh Kumar said as the head of the university, it was his responsibility to maintain peace in the campus.
“We informed the organisers that we had cancelled permission, which they claimed to be a cultural event. The top administration of the varsity decided that in the interest of the peace and calm of the university, the permission was cancelled,” said Kumar.
JNU Students’ Union Joint Secretary Saurabh Sharma said that they have called for a protest against the anti-national activity. He called the programme 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,” he said.
ABVP’s protest call brought 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 these groups started their march to Ganga Dhaba, ABVP members blocked their way even when police tried to intervene. The police was called from nearby Vasant Kunj police station.
The ABVP has called for a university strike on February 10 and asked for the rustication of the 10 students. Police however said that they have not received any complaints so far regarding the incident.
Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the JNUSU and AISF leader, said that Left organisations were against curbing of freedom of expression and the right to protest democratically and had thus supported the meet.