Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is now more a place of violence than a place of learning. Masked men with armed sticks are reported to have attacked the students and teachers in the JNU campus. JNU’s image started to take beating after Kanhaiya Kumar, the chief of Tukde Tukde gang spoke of cutting the nation into thousand pieces. Naturally, it led to the emergence of two factions, one supporting the Kanhaiya Kumar team and the other opposed to him. The Home Minister Amit Shah has ordered an inquiry by a senior police officer into the violence. Enquiry findings will unravel the truth.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, who is mum on the death of 107 infants death in Kota, Rajasthan, has lost no time to politicize the issue that concerns JNU. He has issued a statement that the violence in JNU is the handiwork of fascists. Constructive criticisms and constructive suggestions by Congress to quell the unrest in JNU would in the long run pay dividend. Unless the Congress learns to act as a responsible opposition, the place in opposition benches would be permanent for the party. The attitude of the Congress party is enough for the people to keep the party in opposition benches for some more time to make it acquire enough experience to behave like a responsible opposition party. Further, Congress and Leftists are very good at the art of orchestrating attacks to tarnish the image of the government at centre. Latest report reveals that the goons were not outsiders but it is the result of violenc on clashes between inmates of two hostels.
Maharashtra Government is answerable for not immediately arresting the girl carrying big ‘Free Kashmir’ posters at Gateway of India on January 6, 2020 during protest against violence by unidentified masked persons at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) on 06.01.2020.
Violence cannot be held justified. But Maharashtra Chief Minister while comparing the incident at JNU as a sort of repeat of Jaliawala Bagh incident in British regime, failed to take strict action against those displaying objectionable posters at Gateway of India.
While Delhi Police is probing attack on incidents by unidentified persons at JNU, Mumbai Police should probe how anti-national posters could so openly be displayed at Gateway of India.
Institutions such as JNU and Delhi University are elite spaces. But they are also the biggest facilitators of promoting equality in the next generation of social elite in the country. This is essential for deepening democracy and furthering justice. It would be a travesty if all this were frittered away for a few hundred crore rupees in fiscal savings.
It needs to be underlined that even the fee hike, which has been unleashed in JNU, cannot recover an overwhelming share of the spending on running the university. For that to happen, the fees will have to go into tens of lakhs.
One need not always agree with everything JNU students say and demand. But they should always have the right to say these things as long as they are democratic and non-violent, which JNU has always been.
Yesterday’s treatment of JNU students is proof that we are living in an age where ideological differences in places of learning will be crushed with brute force, and the state at best will remain a bystander. A society which condones violence against its universities is only condoning the destruction of its future.