So Much For Free Speech: North-East Chief Ministers Face Protests And Disruption In JNU

The BJP Chief Ministers in JNU, Sarbananda Sonowal (L), N Biren Singh (C)and Pema Khandu (R). (pic via Twitter)

Three chief ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled North-East states faced protests and sloganeering from a section of students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in New Delhi, Hindi daily Amar Ujala reported.

The chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur were present at Koyna hostel, which is situated at the campus, on invitation from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) - RSS's students wing. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Arunachal CM Pema Khandu and Manipur CM N Biren Singh were invited by ABVP for a public talk.

Despite the protests, the three chief ministers continued to talk on development and national integration.

JNU campus has a tradition of organising public talks by leaders and ministers from all parties and ideologies, especially before university polls, and especially by leaders from Left parties.

DNA reported that "students were protesting outside the venue, with placards, against the Citizenship Amendment Bill." The report adds, "As he started speaking, Khandu was disrupted by a student who said that several students from Northeast India were not allowed to enter the venue of the Koyna Hostel mess. 'All the students from the Northeast have not been allowed to enter here. This is not right,' she said. Her disruptions were followed by cries of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ by ABVP members."

In its report, Amar Ujala mentions that the programme had a normal beginning. However, within a short time, slogans were raised against the ministers and the protest took a heated turn, as students, allegedly those supporting the left, and ABVP, clashed.

JNU is all set to start a special centre dedicated to the studies of the North East.

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