NEW DELHI: A day after clashes over eating non-vegetarian food in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) that left many students injured, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) alleged that Left groups were against Rama Navami celebrations and obstructed puja on Sunday.
Both ABVP and the Left outfits have blamed each other for the violence on the campus.
Speaking to The New Indian on Monday, several workers of the ABVP said that the issue was not limited to just eating non-veg and alleged that Left groups circulated pamphlets among students, asking them not to allow Rama Navami puja.
“All residents of Kaveri hostel had decided not to eat non-veg food that day. No one had any problem with it except for the Leftists. It is not just about food. They were not pleased with some students celebrating Rama Navami on the campus,” a hostel resident said.
Shaitan Singh, another resident of Kaveri hostel, said, “When we started puja at about 3 pm, members of Left organisations gathered there and obstructed our puja. However, they had no problem with attending Iftar party.”
Another student said that all residents of the Kaveri hostel had collectively decided not to eat non-veg food on Rama Navami. “All hostel residents had agreed to it but Leftists had a problem. They came with rods and sticks to the hostel and said they wanted to speak to the warden. If they wanted to just speak, what was the need of sticks,” he asked.
Showing her wounds outside the university, Divya, another ABVP member said, “I was attending the puja as a common student when we were attacked by them with rods and glass bottles all of a sudden.”
Interestingly, the JNU administration also said that “some groups of students” were not happy with the puja and havan at the Kaveri hostel.
“It was the occasion of Rama Navami and hawan was organised by the students in the Kaveri hostel and there were students who were objecting to this. The warden and dean tried to pacify and the hawan was concluded peacefully,” the administration said in a release.
JNU Press Release dated 11.04.2022 pic.twitter.com/Pu2LLooZHy
— Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) (@JNU_official_50) April 11, 2022
It added, “Despite this, some group of student were not happy with their and soon after, at the time of dinner, a ruckus was created over there and heated arguments were followed by an altercation between both the groups in Kaveri hostel.”
The Jawahar Lal Nehru University Students’ Union blamed the ABVP for the violence by allegedly not allowing others to eat non-veg food, and denied allegations of having disrupted the Rama Navami puja.
“We did not do any such thing. The matter is purely related to the choice of food. Non-veg food is served in every hostel every Sunday. When the vendor went to the hostel to serve chicken, ABVP goons objected to it,” said JNUSU member Anagha.
JNUSU alleged that ABVP activists forced the mess committee to change the dinner menu and attacked the Left-leaning students and those associated with the mess.
The JNU administration has called for peace and restraint and warned students against further violence on the campus. “We appeal to everyone to exercise restraint and let the academic environment flourish in JNU without any external disturbances,” said JNU Registrar Prof. Ravikesh.
Police have registered an FIR against unidentified ABVP members on the complaint of some students. ABVP members have also lodged police complaints.