Row over Afzal Guru event, attack on JNU's democratic culture: JNUSU

Row over Afzal Guru event, attack on JNU's democratic culture: JNUSU

 The JNU students union today "disowned" the controversy over an event on JNU campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, saying it is an attempt by ABVP to curb the "democratic traditions" of the university.

The JNUSU has two members from the left-backed All India Students Association (AISA), one from All India Students Federation (AISF) and one from BJP-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The Left-backed parties in a joint statement issued today distanced themselves from the controversy saying that opposition against the Afzal guru event is ABVP's stand and not the student union's.

"We disown this controversy and are appaled at the way an uproar has been created over the issue and it is being projected as a JNUSU activity. We do condemn the undemocratic slogans that were raised at the programme but this is an ABVP propaganda to malign the image of the university as well as curb the democratic tradition of the university," said JNUSU President Kanaihya Kumar.

"Universities are spaces of dialogue and discussion and if a group is holding a peaceful programme with the administration's permission, the VC cannot simply get nervous and deny permission just because     ABVP is flexing its muscles," the joint statement said.

The protests continued to rock the university for the second day with the two groups gathering outside VC office and shouting slogans against each other.

The members of ABVP, who had yesterday called off their protest after the university assured them of a fair enquiry into the issue, burnt effigies of JNU administration demanding expulsion of the those supporting "anti-national" sentiments.

The controversy erupted earlier this week when few students had pasted posters across the campus inviting people to gather for a protest march against "judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt" and in solidarity with "struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self determination" at varsity's Sabarmati dhaba.

Members of the ABVP objected to the event and wrote to the Vice Chancellor that such kind of marches should not be held on campus of an educational institution, prompting the university administration to order cancellation of the march as they "feared" that it might "disrupt" peace on campus.

But the organisers went ahead with the programme despite the cancellation of the permission and held a cultural programme, art and photo exhibition on the issue rather than a protest.

The university had yesterday ordered a "disciplinary" inquiry into the incident saying that the act of students going ahead with the event despite cancellation of permission amounted to indiscipline and any talk about country's disintegration cannot be "national".
Asked about the protests today and the student groups being divided over the issue, the JNU authorities, said they will decide their course of action only after the proctorial committee comes up with its report.

"The students have a right to protest and express their dissent over any particular issue but we have to take care of the fact that the academic functioning of the university does not get disrupted," JNU VC Jagdeesh Kumar said.

"The probe committee headed by the Chief Proctor is examining the evidences and we will be able to take any action once the panel comes up with its return," he added.

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