By Ila Ananya
In another instance of ridiculous cases being filed against people, the Aligarh Muslim University Student’s Union (AMUSU) has filed an FIR against Shehla Rashid, JNU student union leader. The FIR came after Rashid wrote a Facebook post on hate speech and blasphemy, and AMUSU has filed the FIR stating that she had made “objectionable remarks against Prophet Muhammad and other religions”. Strangely, the FIR was filed even as the AMUSU invited her for an all-India student leader’s meet to talk about Najeeb Ahmed, scheduled to happen on Saturday. India Today reports that the AMUSU letter to the police stated that if Rashid turned up at the meet on Saturday, there was a possibility of “the situation turning sensitive”.
February 17th, 2017:
After Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Nivedita Menon spoke at Jai Narain Vyas University in Jodhpur on 2nd February, police complaints were lodged against her. Following this, the governing body of the college has now suspended Professor Rajshri Ranawat on 16th February for organising the conference and inviting Menon to speak.
Menon wrote on Kafila about the incident soon after it happened. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (the student organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) had called a bandh in the university on February 3rd, not only stopping classes but also demanding that police action be taken against Menon and the organisers of the conference, and that the organisers be suspended. The charge, as always, was that the conference, and Menon’s lecture, was the all-too-familiar “anti-national”.
Menon’s piece on Kafila addressed each of the charges and distortions that the local media has been presenting of the event. None of the ABVP students involved in the protests were at her event, and at the time that Menon wrote the piece, there was no available recording of the talk because ABVP members had gathered outside the shop that had conducted the recording. Every biased newspaper report that appeared, Menon writes, was based entirely on the testimony of one person, NK Chaturvedi (retired from the university’s History Department) who had, at the end of her session, told her that he had seen her on YouTube and had come to see ‘how anti-national she was’. Menon then goes on to clarify all the things that she did and did not say about Kashmir, the map of India, Siachen, the patriotism of men in the army, and the flag that the image of Bharat Mata holds, and in what context she said them.
Ranawat, the suspended professor, also told Scroll.in that, “I was asked to explain why I had invited such a controversial figure, if I had asked what she was going to say and who had approved her speech, and finally, if I had introduced her as someone who is known to make anti-national speeches.”
Just as horrifiyingly, Ranawat, who lives on the university campus, had to leave her house on February 3rd after the university campus erupted in protests against her. Chaturvedi had, after the newspaper reports began to appear, called up Ranawat, and Menon writes about him asking her, “Ab madam, kaise lag raha hai?” (Madam, how do you feel now?).
Reportedly, Ranawat sought both the university and the police’s assistance with security, with no assurance of safety from either. When she returned to Jodhpur on February 14th, she received a letter the following day stating that she had been suspended, and the decision was made by the governing body. Scroll.in also says that another committee has been made to decide on the punishment she should face.
Is Mr Chaturvedi’s house open and phone line available for the rest of us to indulge our curiosity about his patriotic feelings and also to find out who else from his YouTube playlist he likes to stalk?