Violence erupted on campus at Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday evening, injuring a number of students. This came after a heated day between two groups of students — Left activists and ABVP members – with the former accusing the latter of attempting to disrupt a Ram Navami puja in the Kaveri hostel mess by preventing non-vegetarian food from being cooked and served.
The fight started at 7:30 p.m., according to students. While police stated that six students were hurt, Left activists claimed that the number was closer to 50-60, and the ABVP claimed that the number was closer to 15-20, including 8-10 members of the group. A student with a bloodied forehead, another with injuries to his back, and a third with a gushing palm were all seen on campus.
Since around 4 p.m., tensions had been building on campus. ABVP students allegedly tried to block non-vegetarian food from being cooked in the hostel mess, according to Left activists. “Every Sunday, all hostels prepare both non-vegetarian and vegetarian meals. This is standard procedure. When the vendor came to bring chicken to the ABVP students who were hosting an event near Kaveri hostel, they stopped him. “They harassed and heckled both him and the mess secretary, claiming that there was a havan going on and non-vegetarian food couldn’t be served,” Anagha Pradeep, a JNU Students’ Union councillor, stated (JNUSU).
ABVP activists, on the other hand, maintained that non-vegetarian food was not a problem.
“Common JNU students were holding a Ram Navami havan at the Kaveri hostel, but Leftists came to disrupt it and prevent people from attending.” It was meant to begin at 3:30 p.m., but due to the commotion, it could only begin around 5 p.m. No one protested non-vegetarian cuisine, therefore the controversy was fabricated. “An iftar party and a havan were held simultaneously in the dormitory with no problems,” said Umesh Ajmeera, ABVP-JNU secretary.
“The students’ mess committees select what is to be prepared, and the administration has no role in this,” Dean of Students Sudheer Pratap Singh said around 7 p.m. There was no formal complaint, but I received a call and spoke with the warden, and we agreed that whatever had arrived should be prepared. “We’ve found a solution to the problem.”