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India: “JNU fights with idea, not violence”

Friday 11 March 2016, by siawi3


Updated: March 11, 2016 07:24 IST

Kritika Sharma Sebastian

Reminiscing his days as JNU students’ union president, professor Amit Sengupta, who has recently resigned from the IIMC citing differences with the administration, said “JNU students have never been and never will be violent”.

“We have arguments, they have sexism, we have arguments they have xenophobia, we have arguments, they have violence. We were non-violent when former JNUSU president Chandu [Chandrashekhar Prasad] was killed in Bihar in 1997. We were non-violent when the government tried to shut the university in 1983 and we are non-violent today when our JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar has been attacked.”

“This is the tradition of JNU. We fight with ideas not with violence,” he added.

Recalling his JNU days, when there was an attempt to shut down the varsity, he said: “In 1983, there was police action in JNU. The V-C was ghearoed, students went to jail. We were beaten up, lathi-charged, but we did not retaliate. We kept fighting with our ideas. One of the slogans that we came up with those days was — “ kiske hathon me dekhun lahu apna, tamam sheher ne pehen rakhe hain dastane [On whose hands should we see our blood, the entire city is wearing gloves]. It is a similar situation today, all kinds of negative things are being spread about JNU.”

“After the campus was opened, search lights came, public meeting in girls’ hostels were stopped. We changed all that and by 1989, we reclaimed our campus.”

He also spoke about the movement that started after Chandu was killed in his hometown by some goons close to the political leaders there. “We demanded justice for him and fought for over a month. That time the emotion of the entire country was with us. The media was with us, the public was with us, because they knew that what had happened was wrong.”