JNU Effigy Burning: Simmered ‘Azadi’ chant again comes up but from NSUI

New Delhi, Oct 14: A sect of students from Jawaharalal Nehru University (JNU) seems to be obsessive with ‘Dusshera’ festival. And they have their celebrations by taking BJP Government and its leader Narendra Modi.

While Modi and BJP social media cell singled out Ravana as the original terrorist, while a bunch of overenthusiastic filmmakers made a shortfilm that derided Arvind Kejriwal as a Vibhishan who will this time betray Ram, the JNU students said their effigies that they chose to set fire to did not represent the demon king, who is worshipped in many parts of India as a symbol of erudition and courage.

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is investigating an incident involving students who burnt an effigy made with the faces of prominent political figures, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on campus in New Delhi on the occasion of Ram Leela, reports said.

The students of JNU, however, decided to strike a different note by burning a selection of their own villains at the Saraswati Dhaba.

Members of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) said they wanted to express their “dissatisfaction with the current government” through their action. Other figures represented in the effigies included Home Minister Amit Shah, Baba Ramdev, Sadhvi Pragya, Nathuram Godse, Asaram Bapu and JNU Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar.

But these forms of protests, directly or indirectly, are giving BJP a stronger platform for the upcoming elections.

The reason behind is  Modi particularly has the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. When Godhra act and 2002 Gujarat riots killed Muslims, Modi  played his card well by striking a balancing note condemning  the incidents.

The oppositions and human rights activists were forced to switch claiming it to be fake. The JNU episode, earlier  this year is  similar to this one. When  the students allegedly shouted anti-Indian slogans, left wing parties claimed that ABVP activists did that. But they later shifted their stand raising Freedom of Speech.

Moreover, Modi, during the same period, spoke about Freedom of Speech in parliament by recalling a story of Krushchev and Stalin.

However, these kind of protests from a section of JNU faculty and students protesting against the government raised the scrutiny of the government.

While it must be noted that the BJP and its sister parties have burnt posters and effigies of Congress leaders, including former PM Manmohan Singh, on several occasions, were the NSUI students justified in emulating their arch-rivals and repeating history all over again?

However, burning of PM effigy has probably given a fresh lease of life  for student wing of Congress.

According to a JNU student, NSUI was almost dead as the limelight was grabbed away by AIYF after the ‘Azadi’ row. Rahul Gandhi must be the brain behind it to regain the pace in campuses.

Universities have seen a plethora of groups that believe in diverse ideologies that co-exist. Usually, they don’t engage in violent clashes with each other even though their ideologies may be contradictory. Sometimes, they resort to violence, but it is usually against the administration or government.

However no other political party has been as obsessed about taking control of academic campuses as the BJP. And they have made a mess out of it. In addition to encouraging clashes between student groups, by direct or indirect intervention through RSS-affiliated V-Cs or the police, they have spoiled the academic atmosphere of institutions, so much so that it has now started pinching its own people.

Three JNU ABVP officer bearers Pradeep Narwal, Rahul Yadav and Ankit Hans have resigned citing differences with RSS and BJP on the Manusmriti and the Rohith Vemula incident. A PhD student at JNU, Neetu Singh, feels the BJP has let her down as people outside the campus now call her anti-national.