‘Half truths’: AISA says revoking Onam celebration attack on diversity, JNU rejects claims

Onam was in August. JNU administration said that it did not receive any request from the students group for Onam celebration.

AISA said citing "religiosity" to cancel Onam venue should be seen as an "attack on farmers". (Image: Official website)AISA said citing "religiosity" to cancel Onam venue should be seen as an "attack on farmers". (Image: Official website)

Anu Parthiban | November 9, 2023 | 02:38 PM IST

NEW DELHI: All India Students’ Association (AISA) has opposed the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration’s decision to cancel the Onam celebration on campus and said it is an attack on diverse cultures and communities. Responding to this, the administration rejected the claims and said it did not receive any request.

Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in Kerala in the month of August or September.

Alleging that the RSS violated and targeted the Constitution as well as religious communities, AISA said: “We have witnessed how the RSS organized a march with communally charged songs at the administration building, which clearly attacked the Indian constitution, its secular ethos and the broader imagination of people who believe in a religiously diverse society against a state with a monolithic religion.”

Moreover, the gathering at Ad Bloc by the RSS, which is restricted after the Delhi High Court order, was questioned. “The JNU administration's utter silence on such communally charged gatherings can only be interpreted as its support for the communal politics of the Sangh. Does Dhulipudi administration support a gathering which attempts to divide society?” AISA said.

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“Onam was in August. No permission for a food festival was ever sent to Administration or permission taken. The 1st poster released was a political manipulation of a festival. JNU Admin is secular and all so called cultural festivals can't be celebrated long after it is over,” the university posted on X.

It further said that the later version of the poster was for a food festival. “All posters changed. No letter was sent to the Vice Chancellor for permission. Half truths need to be verified and condemned, not glorified,” it added.

The students group, on the other hand, said many religious gatherings have been held in the same building in the presence of JNU vice-chancellor. It said: “Citing "religiosity" to cancel the booking for the Onam venue should be seen as an “attack on the harvest festival and on farmers and working people across state boundaries.”

“This is a clear attempt by the Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit administration, backed by the RSS, to control how people celebrate it,” it added.

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