On the occasion of International Women's Day, JNU students from various groups, including the joint secretary of the ABVP, burnt copies of "anti-women" and "discriminatory" ancient Hindu text Manusmriti. They did this in the university campus on Tuesday evening despite the university denying permission for the event.
The event that took place near the University's Sabarmati Dhaba was organized by former members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who had resigned in the aftermath of police crackdown on JNU campus on February 12. The protest was also attended by current joint secretary of ABVP, Jatin Goraiya, who said "he is personally against the ancient text."
"We have compiled a list of some verses from the Manusmriti that clearly illustrate its anti-women stance and discrimination on the basis of caste against Dalits and other groups," Pradeep Narwal, a former ABVP member and one of the organizers of the event, told ScoopWhoop.
The protesting students consisted of those from various Leftist groups and ABVP members. They shouted slogans like "Manuvaad Ho Barbaad", "Brahminwaad Ho Barbaad" and "Aazadi from Manusmriti and Brahminism" while the copies of the text were burnt.
The students also maintained that this is not the first time the copies of the text have been burnt in a protest in JNU.
"We have never taken permission for burning copies of the text before this, but since the events of February 9, the campus is totally polarized. So we asked for permission to hold the event this time. But the permission was denied," Mukesh, a student who was part of the event, said.
As soon as the protest began several students objected to the filming of event by the university's security guards present at the venue. However, the guards refused to relenting and continued to film the event.
"It's a clear message from the university authorities that they don't want to see Manusmriti burning. Even Baba Ambedkar has burnt it. By denying the permission, it's clear whose side the administration is on. But we will go ahead with the protest," Sucheta De, a former JNUSU president said.
ABVP's current joint secretary Jatin Goraiya, who was also part of the protest, told ScoopWhoop that the Manusmriti is "derogatory against women and discriminates on the basis of caste."
Asked what is the attitude of his party towards his participation in the protest, Goraiya said his party was silent.
"They told me you can't burn copies of Manusmriti under the party's banner," he said.