Express press service
NEW DELHI: Jawaharlal Nehru University is making headlines again after two years – this time for violent clashes over non-vegetarian food served in the hostel mess. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists did not allow food to be served on the occasion of Ram Navami, the pro-left students claimed while ABVP replied that the latter did not allow the pooja takes place peacefully.
Following this blame game, a massive brawl took place over dinner on the premises of the hostel between the two groups. Several alleged videos of the violence have also surfaced on social media, with one showing a student, Akhtarista Ansari, bleeding from the head. Police officials, however, did not confirm the authenticity of the videos.
The main entrance of JNU witnessed huge chaos on Monday with different student organizations making statements and condemning the behavior of the ABVP. While the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) met with the ACP Delhi and filed a complaint, the ABVP also asked three of its activists to file counter complaints.
What student organizations have said
JNU and its hostels are intended to be inclusive spaces for all and not for a particular section. Students from different physical, social and cultural backgrounds have different food preferences that must be respected and accommodated. “This act by the ABVP only signified their politics of exclusion and their right-wing Hindutva policies to hegemonize democratic and secular spaces like the JNU,” said Aishe Ghosh, President of JNUSU. She said Delhi police were also present at the time of the incident but remained a mute bystander.
The ABVP, however, in a statement said: “The ABVP confirms that this event was organized solely by the residents of the hostel. This act of politicization of a religious holiday by the left is a shameful act and the ABVP condemns it.
Mayukh Biswas, Secretary General of SFI, said: “Since the evening, the ABVP has been attacking the mess committee to change the dinner menu and forcing them to exclude the usual non-vegetarian dishes for all students.
Saoumya Samal, secretary of the All India Democratic Students Organization (AIDSO), said, “ABVP tried forcefully to stop serving non-vegetarian dinner at Kaveri hostel on the grounds that it was polluting the puja. They roughed up hostel secretary Kaveri.