Since last week, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi has been the site of protests and clashes. On 12 February 2016, the JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, was arrested under Section 124A and Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code that refer to sedition and criminal conspiracy, respectively. Kumar’s arrest was preceded by an event that was held on 9 February. This event, held at JNU, focused on the hanging of Mohammad Afzal, who was convicted for his alleged role in the 2001 terrorist attack on the Parliament. Although the organisers had originally received permission to conduct the programme, they were told—reportedly 15 minutes before the event was scheduled to take place—that the administration had withdrawn the permission. The administration appeared to have taken this decision a little after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had complained about the “anti-national event.” Subsequently, the participating students and those from the ABVP entered into an altercation and the police were later deployed on campus to restore order. It has since been revealed that the police had been investigating the campus for anti-national elements for some time. In a report submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the police stated that the Democratic Student's Union (DSU) was behind the protest on 9 February. Along with DSU, the report also alleged the Democratic Student's Federation was involved in "anti-national activities" at JNU in the past. These activities included worshipping Mahisasur and not Durga during the Navratri festival and asking for beef in the hostel mess.
In August last year, I covered an ABVP protest at JNU that was targeted at the growing “anti-national” activity within the university. In hindsight, demonstrations such as these were already building the foundation for the ABVP’s stance this year.
On 3 August 2015, a small group of ABVP activists and students assembled outside the administrative block at JNU. They were holding a demonstration, according to the flyers they were passing out, “to pressurise the JNU administration to take strong action against [the] rising anti-national and terrorist activities within [the] university campus.”