A number of students were injured at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Friday, April 27 when a few student organisations including the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) disrupted a film on ‘Love Jihad’.
The screening of the film, titled In the name of love - melancholy of God's own country, directed by Sudipto Sen, was organised by the Global Indian Foundation and Vivekanand Vichar Manch, which is a student group affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The movie was on the alleged conversion of Hindu girls by Muslim men in Kerala.
Members of the Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union (JNUSU) and Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) disrupted the screening, alleging that a hate campaign was being propagated in the guise of the film screening. “They (ABVP) were even playing song ‘Ram lala hum aayenge, mandir wahi banaenge’ in order to create communal tensions on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus,” said former JNUSU president Geeta Kumari.
According to the organisers of the programme, the film focussed on religious conversions of girls in Kerala and the issue of love jihad. However, the students opposing the screening assembled at Sabarmati dhaba to protest the "hate propaganda in the name of love jihad".
The students breached the security cordons and disrupted the screening by holding placards in front of the screen. An effigy of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the ABVP was set on fire to protest the film's screening. In the melee, a few students got injured, while a private security guard had to be hospitalised.
"Why is the ABVP/RSS hiding behind Vivekanand Vichar Manch? We won't let the RSS's venomous 'Love Jihad' myth be propagated," said a statement issued by the protesters.
Just as the JNUSU students ended their protests, members of ABVP arrived and began to abuse and threaten the protesters, alleged Kumari. “Their women started beating us up. I was roughed up and threatened,” she added.
"JNU students standing up for gender justice and against politics of hate in the name of ‘love jihad’ protested the screening. The demonstrators were pelted with eggs and stones to create a situation of chaos," said Kumari.
“When Mohit Pandey, the former JNUSU President, was getting out of the campus in his friend’s car, one Saurabh Sharma called out to him and began to incessantly abuse him,” said Geeta Kumari, “Soon, around 30-40 guys surrounded Mohit’s car and broke its windows and glasses. Thankfully, we were able to shield Mohit,” Kumari added.
Watch: Students attacking Mohit Pandey’s car at JNU
"The JNUSU condemns these anti-social elements that have vitiated the university's atmosphere. It is reminiscent of the incident in Ramjas College where the ABVP activists beat up university students," Kumari added.
Meanwhile, the police said they have received complaints from both the sides over the scuffle and were looking into the matter. "Those who have suffered injuries will be sent for medical examination following which appropriate action will be initiated by us," a senior police officer said.
With PTI inputs