In an unruly turn of event the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University clashed over holding an event on campus against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament terrorist attack convict Afzal Guru.
Several anti-India slogans were shouted by some of the students, which included “India, go back!”, “We will fight the war till we destroy India” and “Afzal we will take your aspirations to the destination.”
The event organisers sought permission to hold the event by providing misleading and incomplete information about the event. The permission was withdrawn after the members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) complained to the administration.
“When we came to know that it was in favour of the terrorist Afzal Guru, we had to stop it as we could not allow them to organise an anti-Indian programme” said the registrar Bupinder Zutshi.
If being terrorist sympathisers is freedom of speech, asking #ShutDownJNU is also free speech.
— Dhairya Gupta (@DhairyaGupta9) February 11, 2016
The (ABVP) had called for a protest outside the 24×7 dhaba opposite the venue, against the “anti-national” activity. “This programme was anti-constitutional. Anyone who tries to portray a terrorist as a martyr will have to face us. We won’t allow such anti-national programmes on campuses,” said JNU Students’ Union Joint Secretary Saurabh Sharma. The student organisers of the event had pasted posters across the campus inviting them 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” It is worrisome to see the students distort the meaning of freedom o speech and expression. Talking about the disintegration of the nation can in no way be seen in a positive light, leave alone it being nationalistic.
Ideological variations are welcome in any democracy so as long as it doesn’t defy the virtues of the constitution and the national fabric of the country. This is a classic example of leftism taken too far. These intellectuals certainly have the right to contrasting views and opinions, but glorifying a terrorist and putting him up on a pedestal to the extent of calling him ‘Shaheed Afzal Guru’ is no less than sedition. It is one thing to express disagreement and another to spark an outright anti-national revolution. One might wonder if this is some sort of an underlying manifestation of the controversial Stockholm syndrome, where a victim has positive feelings towards their perpetrators. However, it is unfair to want to shut down a reputable university like JNU, just because a handful of students are not able to see the reality for what it really is.
What happens in the coming days is something that we will have to wait and watch, but for now, it is safe to say that in the wake of all that is happening, it is important to nip these sentiments of misguided rage and agitation into something venomous and worse.