Forum representing 'backward students' holds protest at JNU

Members claim they will go on a mass rally, hunger strike if demands are not heard

Student leaders of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) put up a demonstration in favour of lifting the ban on the pro-Maoist Forum against War on People and the 'biased attitude' of the administration towards the right-wing ABVP. Students from various political associations including the All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Backward Students Forum (AIBSF) demonstrated Wednesday afternoon in front of the Ad Block in the campus. 

'Left' out: Students from various political associations demonstrated in
front of the Administration Block in JNU campus, New Delhi, on Wednesday.
Pic/mid day

The forum was banned by the JNU administration last May owing to a pamphlet distributed on campus disrespecting the national emblem. According to the student body the banned forum was under constant pressure from varsity authorities.

The protest was organised to raise two demands - lifting of the ban on the forum while stopping all inquiries into the matter; to give the AIBSF students their due rights as the organisation was recently called 'casteist' by varsity officials for the controversial Mahishasura pamphlet.

"The protest is for two chief issues, which directly relate to the freedom of expression of student groups. We want the ban on the forum to be lifted and the showcause notice to the AIBSF president by the administration be withdrawn," said Akbar, a student and sympathiser of the forum.

The protesting students went up to see the proctor HP Bohidar, who had called the AIBSF a 'casteist' organisation and to apprise him of the demands, but a meeting could not be secured. Student leaders claim they will go on a mass rally and hunger strike if the demands are not heard. They will be meeting the officials on Thursday.

'Biased attitude'
Meanwhile, the student associations claim the attitude of the administration is biased towards the right-wing ABVP. "The ABVP students had allegedly called Pakistan 'Porkistan' yet the administration just fined them of Rs 1000 and let them go. How is this possible? If there is freedom for one organisation to promote their wrong agendas, how can the freedom of an independent body be curbed?" said a protesting student.

However, ABVP members refuted all the claims. "The forum has a Maoist agenda and the AIBSF had disrespected Hindu idols. We will not let them continue with that. We had opposed them and will continue to do so. Both these organisations are anti-national," said Adarsh Kumar, ABVP-JNU. The proctor H P Bohidar was not available for comment. Administration officials said, "We are not aware about the student's issues yet. We have organised a meeting with them, where we will try to solve the problems."

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