Is there a method in ABVP’s madness?

Campus violence in Delhi University is playing out in eastern Uttar Pradesh, fuelling suspicion that BJP has been deliberately stoking the controversy

Photo by Shahbaz Khan/PTI
Photo by Shahbaz Khan/PTI

Vishwadeepak

There is growing evidence that the disruption of a seminar at Ramjas College, assault on students protesting the disruption the next day and the subsequent campaign on social media against ‘anti-national elements’ on the campus were orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party to influence the last two phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh.


  • An extraordinary number of BJP leaders and union ministers have been quick to jump into the fray, give certificate of nationalism to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and condemn allegedly subversive activities on the campus.
  • Selective use of videos mixing up old demonstrations and what happened on DU campus and at Ramjas College last week indicates a degree of planning and sophistication that student unions are not known to have.
  • Trolling of DU student Gurmeher Kaur (20) by cricketer Virender Sehwag, actor Randeep Hooda and BJP MP from Mysuru Pratap Simha, a former journalist, and the uniformity of their reaction was possibly not a coincidence.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar Umar Khalid was invited to address a session on ‘çultures of protest’ because his research deals with Adivasi protests in Bastar and elsewhere. But BJP and the ABVP have tried to give the colour that after Kashmir, the scholar was now propagating ‘independence’ of Bastar, a leap of imagination not borne out by facts.
PTI Photo
PTI Photo
Kanhaiya Kumar, former President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union, addresses the crowd at the protest march against ABVP at DU North Campus in New Delhi on Tuesday

The deliberate diversion of the narrative from disruption of a seminar and brazen assault of students and teachers by the ABVP to ‘Pakistan, Kashmir, Dawood Ibrahim, Osama Bin Laden’ etc smacked of a deliberate, if not diabolical, political strategy to reap a political harvest, borne out by reports from the ground in eastern Uttar Pradesh.


While the 20-year old Gurmeher Kaur was abused on social media and threatened with rape and worse, the Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju, with far more pressing issues to occupy his mind, wondered in a tweet who could be polluting the student’s mind!


“Who is polluting this young girl’s mind? A strong Armed Force prevents a war. India never attacked anyone but a weak India was invaded,” Rijiju tweeted. Pratap Simha went a step further and tweeted, “At least Dawood did not use the crutches of his father’s name to justify his anti-national stand.”

There is growing evidence that the disruption of a seminar at Ramjas College, assault on students protesting the disruption the next day and the subsequent campaign on social media against ‘anti-national elements’ on the campus were orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party to influence the last two phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh.

Student activists associated with Left organisations claimed that violence instigated by ABVP in DU campus and statements given by ministers favouring them shows 1) Modi government is trying to divert attention from the campus and; 2) its desperation to win the election in UP at any cost.


The Prime Minister, who was earlier expected to address 10-12 political rallies in UP, is now slated to address 21 of them, if not more. And reports from eastern UP indicate that the campus violence unleashed by the ABVP in Delhi University was being used extensively in UP to rally round the youth. There has been a two-fold increase in the number of participants also in the rallies, suggest reports.


But observers doubt if the ploy is going to work. The rise in communal rhetoric, Pakistan phobia and attempts to change the discourse to anti-nationals may meet with only limited success because of the caste factors, felt a Lucknow-based resident editor of a Hindi newspaper, as well as political analyst Rasheed Kidwai. But reports indicate that the BJP is already trying to combine the Ramjas incident and conflate it with what happened in JNU last year, in Ghazipur, Mau, Azamgarh and neighbouring areas.


“Communists are traitors and they have instigated violence in DU against nationalist students is the narrative,” confirmed a Delhi-based journalist who has been travelling in the region.

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Published: 28 Feb 2017, 7:37 PM