While Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 26/11 mastermind Hafeez Saeed and heads of several other militant organisations were the faces of Ravana effigies burnt on Dussehra across the country, a section of JNU students chose the visages of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to represent the demon king and burnt his effigy.
The act might backfire on them considering the university administration’s decision last week to order a proctorial inquiry into the effigy-burning of the Gujarat government and ‘gau-rakshak’ (cow vigilantes) and to issue show-cause notices to the students concerned.
Members of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) celebrated Dussehra last night by burning the effigy of Modi as Ravan, claiming that it was a protest against the Centre’s “failure” in honouring its promises and the continuous attacks on various educational institutions across the country.
Besides Modi and Shah, the effigy had faces of Yoga guru Ramdev, Sadhvi Pragya, Nathuram Godse, Asaram Bapu and JNU Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar. The students also carried placards with the slogan, ‘Truth shall prevail over evil’.
“The effigy-burning was to symbolise our dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people,” said Sunny Diman, an NSUI activist and the outfit’s candidate in the recently-concluded JNUSU polls.
“Look at what this government has done to our country. The promises it made are still on paper and are repeated only in speeches. Whenever students want to raise their voice, they are attacked by the administration, certainly on instructions from the government. This Dussehra, we wanted to put an end to these rubbish activities,” he added.
The effigy was burnt at the famous Saraswati Dhaba on the JNU campus. University officials, when contacted, were tight-lipped about whether the students had sought a permission for the event or not.