New Delhi: A group of students of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have stirred a fresh controversy by burning Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah, among others, in effigy to represent mythological demon king Ravana.
Some activists and members of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) on Tuesday celebrated the Dussehra festival by burning the effigy of Modi and Shah while carrying placards with the slogan, ‘Truth shall prevail over evil’.
Besides Modi and Shah, the effigy had faces of Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse, Yoga guru Ramdev, firebrand BJP leader Sadhvi Pragya, religious guru Asaram Bapu and JNU vice-chancellor (VC) Jagadesh Kumar.
“We celebrated the victory of truth over falsehood in a modern and democratic country by burning effigies. For us, Modi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are symbol of falsehood. The students created the effigy as they were not content with the Modi government that had come up with anti-poor and anti-people policies and they were symbolically destroying the evil of the government’s policies,” NSUI activist Sunny Diman told Gulf News.
The NSUI said it was a protest against the central government’s continuous attacks on various educational institutions across the country.
“The effigy burning was to symbolise our dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people. You must take note of what this government has done to our country. The promises it made are still on paper and are repeated only in speeches. Whenever students want to raise their voice, they are attacked by the administration, certainly on instructions from the government. This Dussehra, we wanted to put an end to these rubbish activities,” he stated.
Diman said that ever since new VC Jagadesh Kumar took over, there was growing vigilantism in the university. He referred to the recent cases of students getting show-cause notices over burning the effigy of Gujarat state government and cow vigilantes who were “hyperactive in the country”.
“Can you imagine one student was sent a notice for writing Jai Bhim (short name of Dalit leader Bhimrao Ambedkar) on the JNU administration block’s wall. Students routinely burnt effigies of leaders earlier also to protest but now the administration sends showcause notices at the drop of a hat,” he said.
However, apparently unhappy over the effigy-burning incident, the vice-chancellor has ordered an inquiry into the matter.
“The effigy burning incident at Jawaharlal Nehru University was brought to our notice. We are investigating the matter and examining all relevant information,” Kumar told Gulf News.
JNU has been embroiled in controversies ever since it marked the death anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in February this year, when antinational slogans were allegedly raised on the campus.