Munirka not the same anymore

Landlords now repeatedly ask JNU students for police verification

Situated near the Jawaharlal Nehru (JNU) campus, Munirka village is home to hundreds of students who don’t get a place in the varsity’s hostel.

“Munirka is as much important for the students of JNU, as the students are for the locals of Munirka, because their rents are the main source of the locals’ livelihood,’’ said a JNU students.

This relationship, however, encountered a hurdle on February 9 when the incident on campus that day threatened to put the locals and the students against each other.

“It all happened after the news of the February 9 incident trickled in here. On February 11, a former JNU student leader, who is also a local of Munirka, gathered the residents of the village and protested in front of the main JNU gate against the February 9 incident,’’ said Abhishek, a JNU student.

The controversy over the JNU event and the subsequent arrest of students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charge has shifted the attention to the ideology and thought process of the students, things over which the locals never bothered to spend time earlier. Landlords are again asking for police verification from their tenants.

Sitting in a huddle around a hookah, the elders of the village have started to wonder whether in their heart the students even think themselves as Indians or not.

“One of my friends from JNU, who is from northeast, and lives here in Munirka was going to the university day before yesterday. Three-four village elders were chatting among themselves over a hookah. As they saw my friend, they called him near them,’’ said Abhishek.

“As he went near them, one of the elders asked him, do you love your country. My friend asked him in the affirmative. Not convinced by it, the other asked him to recite the national anthem if he loves his country. My friend sang the whole anthem, after which they laughed derisively and asked him to go,’’ Abhishek added.

‘Influenced by TV’
Calling it the TV-effect, All India Students Association (AISA) member, Sucheta says the way channels like Zee News are showing the entire incident, locals are bound to get influenced by it.

“The atmosphere is such that, yesterday, 10 Muslim persons of Munirka, went near the varsity’s gate with placards in their hands and shouted slogans against the organisers of the February 9 event. Why did it happen, off course they had to reaffirm their credentials as a patriot Indian,’’ said Sucheta.

Speaking to a few of the landlords, however, didn’t elicit a confession that they have indeed turned suspicious of the JNU students, barring the fact that they would ‘lynch’ Umar Khalid if they happen to see him in Munirka.

“I don’t know whether Umar Khalid lived in Munirka or not, however, if he was found here, he would be lynched,’’ said a local of Munirka.

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