The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi has launched a probe after the university's National Students' Union of India (NSUI) burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a few others at their campus on the occasion of Dussehra on Tuesday night.
Effigies of BJP President Amit Shah, spiritual guru Baba Ramdev, Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse, Asaram Bapu, Sadhvi Pragya and JNU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Jagadesh Kumar were also burnt to mark the "victory of truth over falsehood" and also protest aginst the growing interference of the Central government in universities and attacks on Dalits.
"We celebrated the victory of truth over falsehood in a modern and democratic country by burning effigies. For us Modi and RSS are symbol of untruth," Sunny Diman, an NSUI member, said. He added that burning of effigies was routine in JNU and that permission is not required for the purpose.
"The effigy burning incident at JNU was brought to our notice. We are investigating the matter and examing all relevant information," VC Kumar tweeted.
However, the students maintained that the effigies did not symbolise Ravana.
"There are communities who worship Ram and there are Adivasi communities who worship Ravana also. So, for us it was not Ravana or Ram whose effigy needs to be burnt. We just wanted to symbolize the victory of truth over falsehood," Diman was quoted by the Hinduatan Times as saying.
Dhiman also alleged that the JNU campus witnessed growing vigilantism since VC Kumar took over with showcause notices being sent to students over the burning of effigies of the Gujarat government and the gau rakshaks.
"Students routinely burnt effigies of leaders earlier also to protest but now the administration sends showcause notices at the drop of hat. The effigy-burning was to symbolise our dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people," Diman added.