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War of words over graffiti against Brahmins and Banias on JNU wall

Left and Right groups accusing each other of fomenting trouble

Basant Kumar Mohanty New Delhi Published 03.12.22, 04:16 AM
Jawaharlal Nehru University

Jawaharlal Nehru University File picture

Graffiti on the walls of a building at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against Brahmins and Banias has created a controversy with Left and Right groups accusing each other of fomenting trouble.

Graffiti like “Brahmin Bharat Chhodo (Brahmins, leave India)”, “We Will Avenge”, “Go Back To Sakhas”, “Brahmo-Baniya, we are coming for you” and “There will be Blood’ were seen on the walls of the School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies-ll and the School of International Studies on the campus on Thursday.


On Friday, the JNU administration asked all its centres to install CCTV cameras.

Immediately after the incident came to light, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) accused the Left groups of writing the slogans.

The ABVP unit at the university said the Leftist groups had a history of defaming JNU. It alleged that Left supporters had gheraoed faculty member Vandana Mishra over a hostel fee hike in 2019 and had now written graffiti in front of her chamber.

The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU), which is represented by Left groups like the SFI and Aisa, condemned the incident and said such acts were now part of a pattern.

“This is not the first time that these acts have been committed in JNU. Earlier this year the statement ‘Muslim Lives Don’t Matter’ was written by unknown persons across JNU walls. Such statements are clearly meant to disturb the normalcy of the campus by vitiating the campus environment,” the JNUSU said in a statement.

“Although political art and wall postering are an integral part of the political culture of the university, we have never witnessed the same to have been employed for hateful purposes under the garb of anonymity,” it added.

“It must also be noted that the progressive student movement of JNU has never defined social justice as contingent upon the outright expulsion of any particular group from society. Rather it is the Right-wing forces that have tried historically to caricature claims to social justice in such a deplorable manner, with the exclusionary CAA-NRCNPR being the latest of their attempts at so-called justice,” the JNUSU statement said.

The JNU Teachers Association condemned the “reprehensible act which is not only traumatic for the faculty concerned but it violates the spirit of diversity and tolerance of all views that is the core ethics of JNU”.

The students’ groups and the JNUTA demanded an investigation. The JNU administration called the graffiti a reflection of “exclusivist tendencies”.

Vice-chancellor Santishree D. Pandit has set up an inquiry committee. “JNU stands for inclusion and equality,” said a notice by JNU. Several professors said the incident appeared to be mischief.

“It is an issue of indiscipline which should be investigated and action taken. But it has had no impact on the campus,” said Ganga Sahay Meena, a faculty at the School of Languages.

Another faculty member, who did not wish to be named, said: “There are CCTV cameras in front of the buildings. It will take a few minutes to find out who entered the buildings after office hours and wrote the graffiti. But the administration is not doing that. Why is the issue being allowed to linger? Is it being done to help the BJP in Gujarat?”

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