Two former office bearers of the ABVP - former JNU ABVP unit vice-president Jatin Goraiya and former joint-secretary Pradeep Narwal - claim that the anti-India sloganeering that took place on February 9, 2016 in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus was done by ABVP members in a bid to divert the media attention from the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, both claimed that the students seen raising anti-India slogans such as “Pakistan Zindabad,” “Bharat tere tukde honge,” in videos belonged to the ABVP.
They also claimed that the controversy was staged by the ABVP to divert media’s attention from the death of the Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. A PhD student at the University of Hyderabad and author of the book Caste is Not a Rumour, Vemula had committed suicide on January 17, 2016; blaming University administration for expelling him from the university at the behest of ABVP.
This claim comes in light of the chargesheet filed against the former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) Kanhaiya Kumar and many others on grounds of Sedition.
“At the time, I remember Jatin and I, since we were Dalits, were told repeatedly to appear for TV interviews and defend ABVP after Vemula’s suicide, which we refused to do since they kept referring to him as a terrorist. With the February 9 event, they saw an opportunity to divert attention,” said Narwal at the conference.
The Delhi Police on Monday filed a 1200 page charge sheet against the former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a sedition case lodged in 2016. Charge sheet also name former students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the Feb 9 event that was organised to mark the death anniversary of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Guru was hanged on 9 February 2013 at 8am in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
Both Jatin Goraiya and Pradeep Narwal have left the ABVP, immediately after the controversy broke out in Feb 2016. Goraiya stated that he left the ABVP because he was against the ABVP’s stand on Dalits.