February 17, 2016

India: Vishwa Hindu Parishad 'showdown' at JNU gates fizzles out

The Telegraph

VHP 'showdown' at gates fizzles out
Pheroze L. Vincent

New Delhi, Feb. 16: This morning several journalists got a message from Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Mahendar Rawat, announcing a "massive showdown" at the main gate of the Jawaharlal Nehru University at noon.

The VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Helpline and "all nationalist students union" would participate, the message promised.

Journalists rushed to JNU to find that the Central Reserve Police Force, armed with automatic rifles, had replaced Delhi police at all the gates. At noon, 10 men wearing saffron tilak appeared and started shouting "Vande Mataram".

By 1pm their numbers had grown 10-fold, the slogans were more belligerent and the CRPF had allowed them to push back a barricade. Then the men walked away. The constables laughed at them.

During a news conference by the JNU Teachers' Association this morning, a dissident faction of 10 teachers appeared. A couple of "Go Back" slogans were raised. The dissident group - which supports the police action on students - later held a news conference.

"Anyone with an alternative view is labelled ABVP or RSS. This leftist group controls JNUTA, the academic and executive councils. They encourage this unionism that forces students to stay within hostels. We are thinking of splitting from the JNUTA," law and governance professor Amita Singh told this paper.

However, that is yet to be.

In a general body meeting of the JNUTA held today, resolutions criticising the administration for escalating the problem and demanding withdrawal of permission to police to enter campus, were passed unanimously.

The resolutions also condemned Monday's attack by a BJP MLA and his supporters on teachers, students and journalists in Patiala House Courts as well as the police inaction. The dissident members had left before the resolutions were tabled and passed.

Many students, including a few who described themselves as ABVP supporters, said their main worries were that they had all been branded traitors and that the varsity was going to shut down.#

JNU's Central Library's website was shut down after being hacked by online entities that described themselves as Black Dr@gon and H4X4rwow. The hackers described their action as a warning to "all traitors staying in JNU."

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar is to be presented in court tomorrow, after five days of police custody.

The ABVP-controlled Delhi University Students' Union is also planning a "showdown" at JNU's main gate to demand the arrest of the organisers of the February 9 programme who are in hiding. They have help from a section of non-teaching staff.

JNU SC/ST Employees Association general secretary Rajni Vaid said: "The underground leaders will soon be caught. We are watching the professors. We know who are the communists. Students are also watching suspicious students. Once they are caught, peace will return to the campus."