Published: 15th November 2019
Who vandalised the yet-to-be unveiled Swami Vivekananda statue at JNU?
Following the statue vandalism incident, the JNU administration has filed a complaint with the Delhi Police along with several video and photographic evidences
Objectionable messages, mostly directed towards right-wing outfits, were found written on the pedestal of a yet-to-be unveiled statue of Swami Vivekananda on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Thursday. The statue, which is covered in a saffron-coloured cloth, is located at the varsity's administrative block, where students are protesting the increase in hostel fee, even though the administration announced a partial rollback of the hike on Wednesday.
Since this incident took place on Thursday, there have been instances of the right-wing and left-wing students' outfits in JNU blaming each other for the shameful act. While the leftist groups said that this incident was meant to divert the attention from the real issue of fee hike, the right-wingers called the opposition 'goons' and said the act shows the intellectual bankruptcy of left leaning student organisations.
Amidst the blame game, the pertinent question of who vandalised the statue still remains.
'The statue was not vandalised really'
The JNUSU had released a statement on the issue earlier on Thursday saying that they do not support "any act of vandalism done in its name and whoever does it, is doing it in his or her own name and should not use the name of the movement to justify such acts. We condemn unequivocally the attempts to malign the JNU Student Movement through acts which do not represent the JNU Student Movement against the fee hike."
The JNU Students' Union Vice President Saket Moon told Edex that this incident has not changed anything for the students and their struggles. "The fee hike has not gone away and whoever has done this cannot divert our or the administration's attention away from the real issue of fee hike and exclusion of students from higher education. We will go on with the struggle inside the university campus and initiate dialogue with the Vice-Chancellor," he said.
Commenting on the vandalism and where the union stands on the matter, Saket added, "The statue is still intact, the slogans were written on the pedestal and they have been erased soon after. Making an issue out of this is just a conspiracy to defame the university and it's democratic culture by the right wing forces. The Students' Union sticks its statement that these attempts to divert us from the real issues will not succeed not endorse any act of vandalism."
Former JNUSU President N Sai Balaji is of the same opinion and he said, "Suddenly, out of nowhere, a few media channels, VC and ABVP are in unison speaking the same language. We have been hearing comments from a few RSS teachers that its time to divide the movement. Are they using ABVP to do that? The whole episode looks like a conspiracy! The propaganda thats being run in name of vandalism is being done to divert the real issue of fee hike and exclusion of students from higher education. It's an old RSS-BJP-ABVP ploy. What guarantee is there that it was not done by ABVP in order to distract, divert and divide the movement? Knowing their history and how they were in connivance with VC all the while, this episode looks nothing but suspicious."
ABVP makes amends, earns hearts on Twitter
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad at JNU, however, has stated the opposite saying that this shameful act of vandalism was done by the leftists "to satisfy their petty political agendas in lieu of genuine students' protests." In a statement, the state media incharge of ABVP Delhi, Ashutosh Singh has condemned the vandalism of Swami Vivekananda's yet to be inaugurated statue and the disfigurement of public property. "ABVP had previously pointed out the attempts by AISA, SFI, DSF, AISF and other left leaning student organisations to satisfy their petty political agendas in lieu of genuine students' protests. This is the latest in a long list of attacks by the left leaning organizations against great intellectual leaders and freedom fighters who have promoted the Indian thought and way of living. Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad will keep fighting till they push all such un-Indian elements out of our educational campuses," it added.
Karyakartas of ABVP JNU also lighted lamps around the statue of Swami Vivekananda that they alleged was vandalised by leftist goons on Thursday. Commenting on why they lighted lamps around the statue in question, they said that this is only a reflection of "ABVP’s commitment to every Indian that we will never drift away from the teachings, ideals and principles of Swami Vivekananda."
Following the incident, the JNU administration has filed a complaint with the Delhi Police along with all video and photographic evidences. On Friday, the authorities said that they have received a complaint and were examining it. On Wednesday, students had painted various messages for the vice chancellor inside the administration block as they barged inside the building to talk to him about the hostel fee hike. Students were protesting inside the administration block against the increase in hostel fees even as the JNU announced a partial rollback, a move that failed to satisfy the protesting students, who dubbed it as an "eyewash" and decided to continue with the strike. The students demanded a complete rollback and the decrease, they said, is marginal.