Published: 08th December 2021
Babri Controversy at JNU: Who is Saket Moon and why did he speak about the Masjid being rebuilt?
Last year, after violence broke out on campus, Saket was also named in an FIR along with JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh
Students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University taking a political stance or saying something controversial is not something new. Be it students' issues or the farmers' agitation, we've seen them take a stand (and protest for days on end). Five years ago, the then JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) Kanhaiya Kumar was embroiled in a controversy that shook the nation, and several news cycles when he made an inflamed speech on campus purportedly calling for Azaadi from India. He went on to contest the polls in Bihar and even switched party colours recently. Elections early this year even saw students contest the West Bengal Assembly elections — Dipsita Dhar and Aishe Ghosh were the two young student leaders who took at least social media by storm even if they didn't find much of a strong foothold in the actual elections.
Saket Moon is the new name that has set social media alight over the past couple of days after his speech about Babri Masjid. But Saket has rarely been in the eye of a controversy storm, let alone something this big.
The issue erupted after a video of Saket addressing students during a harmony march on Monday night to commemorate the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the death anniversary of BR Ambedkar went viral. The video shows Saket talking about the Babri Masjid demolition incident and the 2019 Ayodhya verdict.
The Nagpur boy who is now pursuing his PhD in Discrimination and Exclusion at JNU after finishing his MPhil in the subject, has always been more involved in students' issues. Be it irregularities in disbursement of fellowships or students breaking into libraries, Saket has been one of the most active office bearers of the current JNUSU to come out and talk to the media but has rarely involved himself in controversies that do not directly affect the students.
But that is not to say that he has not had his share of trouble. While this time no FIR has been lodged in his name yet, Saket has had complaints against him before. Last year, after violence broke out on campus, Saket was named in an FIR along with JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh. It said that they "indulged in violence, pushed lady guard, verbally abused them and threatened them of dire consequences if they opened the lock of the CIS office". But this still was an issue connected to the varsity and students. He was also an integral part of the fee hike protests in 2019.
All of this then begs the question: Could this perhaps hasten or catalyse his foray into mainstream politics? This is a time when major political shifts are going on — from young guns like Aishe and Dipsita joining mainstream politics to Kanhaiya and lot shifting to the Congress camp. Would it make sense for the DSF youth leader to enter the mainstream realm? Well, these are questions that only time can answer.