Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal, the former vice-president and joint secretary respectively of JNU’s ABVP unit in 2016 said that filing of the chargesheet was aimed at diverting attention from the marginalisation of the oppressed, unemployment and undue interference in universities under BJP rule.
New Delhi: Two former members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) claimed that the row at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in February 2016 had been planned by the RSS backed student outfit, PTI reported. They questioned the timing of the chargesheet filed against students of the university in a sedition case that was registered soon after the controversy.
Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal, the former vice-president and joint secretary respectively of JNU’s ABVP unit in 2016 addressed a news conference on Wednesday where they raised the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula three years ago.
They said that filing of the chargesheet was aimed at diverting attention from the marginalisation of the oppressed, unemployment and undue interference in universities under the Narendra Modi government.
“The most important thing is that the students shown shouting Pakistan Zindabad slogans in a Zee News video which was found to be fake (by the magisterial probe) were ABVP members. If the police thinks the video is genuine, why haven’t the police contacted them yet, or added their names to the chargesheet?” asked Goraya, now with the Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organisation that was started by former JNU students and sedition accused Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, in a report by The Telegraph.
“...The entire JNU row was orchestrated by the ABVP to gain attention,” he said, according to PTI. “Hashtags like #ShutdownJNU were started on social media to divert attention. It was planned by the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], RSS [Rashtraiya Swayamsevak Sangh] and ABVP,” Goraya added.
Both Goraya and Narwal are Dalits and distanced themselves from ABVP after they took a regressive stand on Vemula’s suicide and accused him working “against India.” Goraya and the ABVP rebels symbolically burned verses of the Manusmriti. Goraya also quit ABVP later that year.
“We’ve decided to speak out now because of the media trial that has started. Three years back, TV channels defamed JNU students as terrorists in order to divert attention from Rohith’s institutional murder. The campaign was planned by the ABVP, which was on the defensive after Rohith’s death, and had asked Dalit members like us to go on TV channels and say that Rohith was working against India. Today, the chargesheet being filed days before Rohith’s death anniversary is to divert the attention of the people before the Lok Sabha elections away from the marginalisation of the oppressed by this government, and rising unemployment,” said Narwal, who is now a Congress activist in Haryana.
“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,” claimed Narwal. Goraya claimed that before the February 9 event, the discussion on the JNU ABVP WhatsApp group focused on how to blow up the incident, Indian Express reported.
Rohith had committed suicide in January 2016 at Hyderabad University after he was suspended on the complaint of ABVP members.
The police had filed a chargesheet on Monday naming student activists Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, and six others in the sedition case. Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested in February 2016 on sedition charges for their involvement in a protest in which several students allegedly shouted anti-national slogans.