New Delhi: The Congress-affiliated NSUI on Thursday said it blackened the bust of V.D. Savarkar while garlanding the busts of Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose installed by the ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union at the varsity.
The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad-led Delhi University Students’ Union had installed the two-feet long busts in white marble on a 6.5-foot long pillar on Tuesday outside the Arts faculty.
The National Students’ Union of India and the Left-backed All India Students’ Association had criticised the move, saying Savarkar cannot be kept on the same pedestal as that of Bose and Singh.
Around midnight, 20 NSUI activists blackened the bust of Savarkar and offered a shoe chain to it, the NSUI said. They also raised slogans Bhagat Singh and Bose amar rahe (long live).
NSUI Delhi wing president Akshay Lakra said, “How could they have put the bust of Savarkar alongside Bose and Bhagat Singh, that too overnight. We had to take the matter in our hands. The university administration has been silent about the issue. The varsity is working at the behest of ABVP, the child unit of RSS.”
The ABVP called it a “heinous act”.
“Last night, the humiliation done by the NSUI to the statue of Veer Savarkar at Delhi University is a heinous act and such an act for trivial political interests reflects the Congress’ thinking of the great freedom fighter of India,” said Monika Chaudhary, national media convenor, ABVP.
The ABVP will make students aware of this “negative mindset” of the NSUI and its parent organisation, she said. “In the context of this deplorable act, the ABVP urges the administration to take stern action against those involved in insulting the statue of freedom fighter,” Chaudhary said.
Sources said DU Proctor Neeta Sehgal issued a show-cause notice to former DUSU president Shakti Singh on Wednesday demanding an answer on his act of installing the bust without due permission from the authorities within 24 hours.
Shakti Singh’s tenure as DUSU president ended on August 21. The Delhi University Students’ Union polls will be held on September 12.
On Wednesday, the ABVP had said it has instructed its office-bearers in the DUSU to shift the busts to the office till the time the university administration grants permission.
Previously, the ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union president Shakti Singh had said that they had approached the university administration and civic authorities repeatedly for permission to install the busts, but there was no response from them.
“The students’ union pleas and demands for everything have fallen on deaf ears. We had requested that a cell where Bhagat Singh was kept for nine days which is in the building which houses the vice-chancellor’s office be thrown open for the public but there was no response,” he had claimed.
He had also said that the trio contributed in the freedom struggle but history was unjust to them and it was important that students learn about them and their contribution. “Today, there are leftist forces that are talking about breaking up this nation. These freedom fighters will inspire students. In our country, if you want to start a debate or discussion, installing a statue or naming a road after someone is the best way to do that,” he had said
NSUI’s Delhi unit president Akshay Lakra had criticised the ABVP move, saying, “You cannot put Savarkar on the same pedestal as Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose.”
“If the statues are not removed within 24 hours, we will launch a strong protest,” he added. The NSUI also said Savarkar had no connection with Delhi University. Lakra also said that a written petition had been submitted to the Delhi University administration to not allow ABVP’s divisive renaming plan which was being done only to polarise DUSU elections.
Earlier, the ABVP had also demanded that the DUSU office be named after Savarkar. However, Lakra said that the NSUI had demanded that the DUSU building be named after freedom fighters who have immediate connections with Delhi University.
“Instead, it should be named ‘Azad Building’ after Chandrasekhar Azad who has popularity amongst all circles of the student community. Politics and nationalism should not be mixed, especially when freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose have criticised and denounced right-wing Hindu nationalism as the worst form of enemy to his idea of modern Indian state,” Lakra said.
Kawalpreet Kaur, Delhi president of the All India Students’ Association, also slammed the ABVP.
“Installing statue of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is an attempt by ABVP/RSS to paint him as a prominent freedom fighter and to rewrite history. While Bhagat Singh stood against imperialism, communal politics and gave up his life for building a socialist, democratic and secular India, Savarkar on the other side wrote mercy petitions to Britishers,” Kaur said.
Savarkar was the first person who had proposed the idea of separate Hindu and Muslim nations in the Hindu Mahasabha conference held in Ahmedabad.
“This clubbing of Savarkar along with Bhagat Singh and Bose shows the desperation on the part of ABVP which wants to give legitimacy to Savarkar’s vision of Hindu Rashtra. It shows the need on their part to create fake icons’ so to cover up the betrayal of RSS in the freedom movement,” she said.
She claimed that ABVP was trying to cover up its failures before DUSU elections behind the charade of ‘nationalism’.
“By flouting DU’s rules, ABVP has reiterated their disregard for India’s institutions. Not only have they disrespected the Uni but by placing Savarkar in line with Bhagat Singh & Subhas Chandra Bose, they’ve disrespected the very freedom fighters in whose name they seek votes,” the Congress tweeted on Wednesday.
The Congress’s reaction came in response to the NSUI’s tweet earlier in the day.
“Did VD Savarkar sacrifice his life like Bhagat Singh for the sake of country? Or did he raise army like Subhash Chandra Bose to fight British? Bringing the busts of three together in DU by ABVP is to blur the history of freedom struggle. NSUI will fight it out. #GaddarSavarkar,” the NSUI had tweeted.
The DU students’ union polls will be held next month though the dates for the same have not yet been announced.
(With inputs from PTI)