Sunday, March 13, 2016

An attack that foretold JNU row


NEW DELHI, March 14, 2016    Updated: March 14, 2016 00:17 IST

Kritika Sharma Sebastian

Two months before the JJU waded into a full blown political storm, the student wing of the RSS, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarti Parishad (ABVP) had allegedly attempted to mobilise its cadres on the issue of “religious intolerance”.

In a string of social media updates, ABVP leader Saurabh Sharma, who is also at the forefront of the current crisis, had accused the ‘JNU culture’ of hampering religious freedoms and named a hostel warden for disrupting a religious ceremony and for indulging in caste abuse. The warden was also accused of misbehaving with a student.

However, on the day that student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was released from Tihar jail, a local court debunked the ABVP’s complaint, citing in its interim order on anticipatory bail to the warden, that “the ingredients for the offence under section 3 (1) of the SC/ST Act are not satisfied”.

A fact-finding committee of the university also maintained that the warden “did not resort to any caste abuse since none of the complainants were able to spell out the exact words”.

According to documents with The Hindu, in November last year, a student had organised a havan (religious ceremony) inside his room in Jhelum hostel. Since the process involved lighting a fire, which is against the rules of the hostel, students from adjacent rooms called up the hostel wardens. Three wardens of Jhelum hostel, including Professor Himanshu, Professor Ashutosh Kumar and Professor Burton Cleetus intervened in the matter and the havan was stopped.

A day after the incident, the President of the JNU’s ABVP, Saurabh Sharma on his social media account posted: “#Religious intolerance yesterday 1 of our hostel warden Burton Cleetus showed his religious intolerance by disturbing pooja”.

On the same day, Dr. Cleetus was informed that a case had been filed against him for sexual harassment and hurting religious sentiments. The FIR mentioned that: “Mr. Burton stormed inside the room and began to kick all the prayer items including the pictures of the gods. He also used derogatory and abusive words to refer to Hindu gods and forcefully began to kick everyone out of the room.” However, the court in a relief to Dr. Cleetus, has said: “In the absence of complaint stating that Burton Cleetus was aware about the case of Chaitanya, the ingredients for the offence under section 3 (1) of the SC/ST Act are not satisfied and rendering this application under section 438 of the Cr. PC to be maintainable”.

Source: thehindu

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