JNU Students burnt Modi-Ramdev-Amit Shah effigy On Ram Leela

New Delhi, Oct 13: 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.

This year the public’s favourite villains to burn on the festival to celebrate the eradication of evil was the Pakistani flag, along with the usual suspect, Ravan. 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.

JNU recently served proctorial notices to four students who had earlier burnt an effigy of the Gujarat government and gau rakshaks or cow vigilantes.

Sunny Dhiman, a leader of the NSUI, told The Indian Express, “Earlier, we had burnt an effigy of Modi on the campus premises and nothing happened. Effigy burnings are routine in JNU… no permission is needed for them.”

At another bastion of liberal education, Ashoka University, two senior members of the administrative staff quit and one assistant professor is under pressure to leave, following an incident of protest against the unrest in Kashmir, The Indian Express reported.

On 25 July, 88 members of the university signed a petition addressed to the government of Jammu and Kashmir condemning the violence that erupted in the Valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani. The signatories included students, alumni, two employees and one faculty member.

Shortly after this incident, the two staff members handed in their resignation. These two events, insiders say, are not mere coincidences. A faculty from the department of Mathematics has been also, allegedly, coerced to leave.

On July 28, the university issued a statement dissociating itself from the petition. “Only a handful of individuals, including a few students of Ashoka University, had signed the letter, and it, in no way, represents Ashoka’s point of view,” it said, adding that “Ashoka University does not endorse the views held by these individuals, and at no point, supported them. In fact, Ashoka University condemns such behaviour, and had asked the individuals not to use the good name of the University to represent personal views and ideas.”

Vice-Chancellor of the university Rudrangshu Mukherjee has written to the students and other members of the university asking them to refrain from using the institution’s name to comment on any matter on which people have different opinions.

The same week, the university changed its email regulations. All internal communications, it said, will go through a moderator, a practice that is followed by many top universities across the world.