Indian universities are becoming a battleground as a new war is being fought on campuses across the country between the radical right-wing and the liberal left. Last week, the campus of Delhi University saw violence and disruptions when the right-wing student group ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) protested against a seminar entitled “Cultures of Protest,” which was scheduled to take place on February 21. At the seminar, JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) student leaders Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were invited to speak.
This is not the first time that the ABVP — which has strong ties to the ruling BJP, the right-wing Hindu nationalist party that is currently in power in India — has been in the news for violent incidents and attacks, particularly when it comes to JNU teachers, administrators, and students. There is long-standing hostility there; JNU is a liberal left-wing university that fosters critical thinking, free debate and independent thought, and this is dangerous to the right-wing ideology. JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid have all received death threats in the past year.
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