Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar claimed on Thursday that the “vitriolic” reaction to actor Deepika Padukone’s visit to the campus proved that supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi-led central government were behind the mob attack at the college on January 5, NDTV reported. At least 34 students and teachers were injured in the attack.
Padukone had visited the university on Tuesday and met current JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh, who was injured in the January 5 attack. Immediately, Twitter hashtag #BoycottChhapaak began to trend, referring to Padukone’s new movie.
Kumar made the remarks during a protest march by JNU students in New Delhi on Thursday. “Deepika Padukone campaigning for Prime Minister Narendra Modi was deshbhakt [patriotic] but when she came to JNU she became a deshdrohi [traitor],” Kumar said, targeting government supporters.
At a protest near Mandi House, Kumar said Padukone had not chanted any slogans or spoken about anybody while she was at the JNU campus. “She was silent, she met the injured students and left,” he said. “Now they are saying they won’t see her film. I wondered, she didn’t name any party or any ideology or slogan. Then why not see her film? Then they concede that government’s supporters are involved in the JNU violence.”
Kumar also targeted JNU Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, who had wondered on Wednesday why “great personalities” visiting the campus could not stand with students and teachers who have been deprived of their research and teaching. “Deepika Padukone is not the vice chancellor of JNU...you are,” Kanhaiya Kumar said. The former student leader said it was the vice chancellor’s job to meet students and teachers.
The protestors at Mandi House demanded the removal of the vice chancellor. Leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, and the Left also joined the protest.
Meanwhile, Jagadesh Kumar told PTI that the university has formed a five-member committee to investigate the January 5 violence and recommend measures to ensure the safety of students. The Delhi Police had earlier constituted a fact-finding panel to investigate the mob attack.