Kolkata: Tension gripped the Jammu University after some Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists stopped a football match between students of the varsity and the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) over “disrespect” to the National Anthem on Friday. It was the first ever inter-university sports championship held in the region. The men allegedly stopped some of the local Kashmiri students from taking part in the final match.
The ABVP cited a photograph purportedly showing two “Kashmiri” students talking while the National Anthem was being played at the inauguration of the event on April 3. Activists from the right-wing students group entered the Jammu University’s sports ground at about 11 am, shouted slogans and held a “sit-in protest”.
The Jammu University officials as well as students from the Valley denied the ABVP’s allegation. Prof Avatar Singh Jasrotia, Director of Jammu University’s Directorate of Sports and Physical Education, advised the protesters not to play politics over the issue of the National Anthem. “Those who stopped them are wrong. They told the students to stand up on two occasions, citing they were not standing in the proper position. The Kashmiri students stood twice. They stood up during the entire 58 seconds of the rendition,” he said, adding that the university was functioning normally on Saturday.
Some students from the Valley said that the National Anthem was even played in the middle of the football match on Friday, at the insistence of the ABVP activists. “We all stood up as a mark of respect, but they did not allow the match to be held even after that,” said a student from Kashmir who did not want to be named.
Jammu wing’s ABVP secretary Deepak Gupta, though, denied the allegations and said that the men in question were not from the ABVP. “Those who stopped the match are not from the ABVP. They might be students from the university. We saw the video of the students who were not standing in proper position. We demand action be taken against them by university authorities,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that the ABVP has been accused of disrupting peace and harmony on a college campus. Throughout the country there have been various incidents where the highly student body has attacked the freedom of expression of students and even halted the functioning of colleges and universities. While student politics is something that will always exist, it must be regulated by some authoritarian body to ensure that things don’t go out of hand. What is required are independent student bodies which are not backed by political parties. The incident that took place at the Jammu University on Friday, only reinforces the fact that a change is required in the way that student politics functions in India.
(With inputs from News18)