With the campus coming to limelight on allegations of being ‘anti-national’, President of JNUSU, Kanhaiya Kumar responded to gathered press this afternoon in defence against #ShutDownJNU that went viral on social media. “There is need to send a responsible message to the nation on what JNU stands for”, he asserted. The recent controversy started after a group of people organised a ‘cultural evening’ on 9 February 2016 that led to an uproar between them and ABVP.
Kanhaiya Kumar stated that, “We as a university exist not to condemn those who are hanged but rather to critically evaluate the collective conscience of the very society we live in”, “We ask questions as to why people dare to die with explosives tied across them” and, “we seek to define contextual terminologies of ‘violence’ and ‘justice’. If violence only entails overt acts of terrorism and bloodshed, how do we understand the covert nature of ‘institutional discrimination’ based on caste?”
Condemning the RSS, BJP, ‘brahmanvad’ and ‘manuvad’ through slogans, he asserted that the Union would not tolerate attacks on JNU. Simultaneously, protesting students from ABVP were on constant remonstration as Kumar made his speech. Varsity guards had formed a barrier between the two groups as a precautionary measure to maintain order. It was also reported that around 50 policemen were on standby at the main gate of the campus.
The President blamed ABVP to have manipulated the environment for the trending #ShutDownJNU and then to have opposed it for the very reason that they have no choice but to thrive on this campus.
Kanhaiya Kumar also highlighted that something amiss lay in the functioning of the administration and the vice-chancellor. “Posters for the 9 February event were put up across the campus and distributed in the hostel mess’, why did the administration approve of it in the first place and under who’s command did they change their mind”, he demanded to know.
Also asserting that, “JNUSU condemns all forms of violence, terrorism and terrorist attacks that are anti-national” he concluded his speech by rebuking the ‘unidentified people’ who cried slogans of ‘Pakistan zindabad.’
Aakanksha D’Cruz is an MA student at CPS and works for the Informer.
Dhaval Bhate is an MA student at CSSS and works for the News Pool of the Informer.