1. Free speech or no controversy: JNU in fix over removing Kashmir poster

Free speech or no controversy: JNU in fix over removing Kashmir poster

The JNU administration which had ordered removal of a controversial poster demanding freedom for Kashmir and Palestine is now in a dilemma on pulling it down as it does not want a "fresh controversy" on "avoidable issues".

By: | Updated: March 3, 2017 10:13 PM
JNU, Democratic Students Union, Umar Khalid, ABVP, Afzal Guru The poster with the message “Freedom for Kashmir! Free Palestine! Right to Self Determination Long Live! DSU” written on it was pasted on the wall by the Left-leaning Democratic Students Union (DSU).(PTI)

The JNU administration which had ordered removal of a controversial poster demanding freedom for Kashmir and Palestine is now in a dilemma on pulling it down as it does not want a “fresh controversy” on “avoidable issues”. While the JNU Rector today said that security personnel tried removing the poster and would try again, another senior official said a decision is yet to be taken on it.

“We had ordered the security officer to pull down the poster yesterday but they could not due to opposition from students. They will try again as such activities cannot be allowed on campus,” the Rector said.

“We will enquire about the poster from the particular outfit and decide on further action,” he added.

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Another senior official, who did not wish to be named, said, “A final decision could not be reached because we do not want to be seen as curbing anybody’s freedom of speech and expression. However, we do not want any fresh controversy as lot of time has been wasted on these avoidable issues.”

The poster with the message “Freedom for Kashmir! Free Palestine! Right to Self Determination Long Live! DSU” written on it was pasted on the wall by the Left-leaning Democratic Students Union (DSU).

DSU’s former members Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and others had organised the controversial event last year against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru at JNU during which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.

Khalid, Bhattacharya and former student union president Kanhaiya Kumar are out on bail in a sedition case over the event.

Some students noticed the poster on the wall of the new block of the School of Social Sciences (SSS) and informed the administration.

The JNU authorities asked the university security to remove the poster in the evening but it hasn’t been removed yet.

The RSS-backed ABVP which had objected to the Afzal Guru event last year, expressed dismay over non-removal of the poster.

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