Stu­dents clash in JNU at Ar­ti­cle 370 event Left Stu­dents’ Group, ABVP Mem­bers In­volved In Scuf­fle Over Cen­tral Min­is­ter’s Re­marks

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Mo­ham­mad.Ibrar @times­ TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: A lec­ture, ti­tled “Ar­ti­cle 370: Peace, Sta­bil­ity and De­vel­op­ment in Jammu & Kash­mir and Ladakh”, or­gan­ised by JNU ad­min­is­tra­tion on Thurs­day saw yet an­other clash of ide­olo­gies on the cam­pus.

Union min­is­ter Ji­ten­dra Singh, the chief guest at the event, claimed that there were no in­stances of vi­o­lence in Kash­mir in the last six weeks and, there­fore, there was no cur­few there. He said that state po­lit­i­cal lead­ers placed un­der house ar­rest were be­ing given all ben­e­fits, adding that Amit Shah was the “most soft-hearted home min­is­ter”.

The min­is­ter’s pres­ence in the univer­sity in­vited protests from a num­ber of stu­dent groups. The BJP-af­fil­i­ated ABVP held a counter-protest and there were mi­nor scuf­fles. Even be­fore Singh’s ar­rival, there were protests and slo­ga­neer­ing on the cam­pus. Some stu­dents held ban­ners claim­ing that hu­man de­vel­op­ment in­dices in J&K were bet­ter than in a num­ber of other states. The ABVP mem­bers, in turn, came up with posters to re­in­force their point that most peo­ple in In­dia were happy with the de­ci­sion to ab­ro­gate Ar­ti­cle 370 in J&K.

The slo­ga­neer­ing by the two op­pos­ing groups prompted Singh to com­ment that he was un­lucky not to be an alum­nus of JNU as these protests showed that the val­ues of free speech and free ideas were taught in the univer­sity. Train­ing his guns at the Op­po­si­tion, Singh re­minded the gath­er­ing that “the Congress party had been con­stantly di­lut­ing Ar­ti­cle 370 and ini­tially brought it as a tem­po­rary pro­vi­sion”.

He said that since Au­gust 6 — when the BJP-led cen­tral gov­ern­ment ab­ro­gated Ar­ti­cle 370 in J&K — it had been “our en­deav­our to visit dif­fer­ent places of the coun­try, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, and tell the peo­ple about the his­toric de­ci­sion”.

Singh also took pot­shots at In­dia’s first PM Jawa­har­lal Nehru and claimed that “Par­ti­tion was a grave mis­take”. He claimed that de­vel­op­ment couldn’t hap­pen in J&K be­cause of Ar­ti­cle 370, which ac­cord­ing to him, proved to be an im­ped­i­ment to pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment. “The North­east did well be­cause of in­vest­ment, all be­cause of the work done by Modi gov­ern­ment,” he said.

As Singh was about to leave, the protest­ing stu­dents ran to­wards his car to gherao it. They were stopped by ABVP mem­bers who formed a hu­man chain out­side the con­ven­tion cen­tre, and a scuf­fle en­sued.

In a state­ment, JNUSU later dubbed Singh’s state­ments as lies. “We op­pose the de­vi­ous agenda be­ing pro­moted on our cam­pus and will or­gan­ise a protest meet­ing with the mem­bers of the fact-find­ing teams and ac­tivists from J&K,” it said.

ABVP, on the other hand, con­demned “this at­ti­tude of con­tin­ued sham­ing of the univer­sity through such in­ci­dents and in­de­cent be­hav­iour”. JNU vice-chan­cel­lor M Ja­gadesh Ku­mar tweeted that the min­is­ter’'s speech got “over­whelm­ing re­sponse” and it was “a clear in­di­ca­tion that the JNU com­mu­nity sup­ports one na­tion, one Con­sti­tu­tion in one voice”. He claimed that “protests by a hand­ful are a clear in­di­ca­tion that free­dom of ex­pres­sion is val­ued in our coun­try”. New Delhi: A grip­ping tale of love and friend­ship, be­trayal and re­demp­tion, good and evil, jux­ta­posed against the tur­bu­lent back­drop of wartime Afghanista­n — Khaled Hos­seini’s The Kite Run­ner — will be the sec­ond Aadyam play this sea­son in Delhi.

Aadyam, the Aditya Birla Group-helmed theatre ini­tia­tive in as­so­ci­a­tion with The Times of In­dia, has al­ready staged A Few Good Men this sea­son. The new play will be staged on Satur­day and Sun­day.

Directed by Akarsh Khu­rana — who dons mul­ti­ple hats as a writer, pro­ducer, di­rec­tor and an ac­tor — the play cap­tures the emo­tional story of Amir and Has­san, two friends, al­most brothers and kite-fly­ing ex­perts, in Kabul. This soul-stir­ring story about friend­ship, aban­don­ment and a life­time of seek­ing re­demp­tion for the mis­takes com­mit­ted at a young age was adapted for the screen in 2007. | 7.30pm | 4pm, 7.30pm

Oct 5 Oct 6

ON WAR PATH: ABVP mem­bers protest against Left groups

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