Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is probing an incident where members of the Congress party's National Students Union of India (NSUI) burnt an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on campus.
On Wednesday, the university's vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said on Twitter, "The effigy burning incident at JNU was brought to our notice. We are investigating the matter and examining all relevant information."
Last week, the JNU administration had issued notices to four students who had reportedly burnt effigies of the Gujarat government and gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes), the Indian Express reported.
On Tuesday night, students belonging to NSUI burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mark the occasion of Dussehra and convey their "dissatisfaction with the current government". They also burnt effigies of other Indian personalities such as politician Amit Shah, yoga guru Ramdev Baba, Asaram Bapu and the vice chancellor of JNU.
Defending the acts of the student wing, Sunny Dhiman, a member of the NSUI told Hindustan Times, "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."
He added, "Earlier, we had burnt an effigy of Modi on the campus premises and nothing happened. Effigy burnings are routine in JNU... no permission is needed for them."
Dhiman also alleged that ever since Kumar took over as vice chancellor of the university, there was been an increase in vigilantism. He elaborated, "Another student was sent a notice for writing Jai Bhim on the JNU administration block's wall. Students routinely burnt effigies of leaders earlier also to protest but now the administration sends showcause notices at the drop of hat."
The university has been embroiled in controversy since the beginning of the year. A group of students had allegedly raised anti-India slogans at an event held to mark the 2001 parliament attack carried out by terrorist Afzal Guru. After the event, the president of JNUSU Kanhaiya Kumar and two other students were arrested on sedition charges.