BJP Burns Pondicherry University's 'Anti-National' Student Magazine

Pondicherry Central University has stopped circulation of the magazine.

03/08/2016 10:13 AM IST | Updated 03/08/2016 12:22 PM IST
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Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, burnt copies of Pondicherry Central University's Student Council magazine Widerstand, earlier this week, and university authorities have now banned its circulation.

Widerstand, which means resistance in German, is still available online.

The Indian Express reported that Pondicherry Central University had stopped the distribution of the magazine, and sealed a room used by Student Council leaders, where about 4,000 copies of the English-language magazine were stored.

"We have not banned it. But we have appointed a committee to go through the magazine's contents and suitable action will be taken if it has violated any rules," Vice Chancellor Anisa B Khan told the newspaper.

The magazine has carried articles with titles such as "Turning into saffron concentration camps", "#Occupy UGC", "Era of Indian resistance," "The country without free speech" and "The diary of a protester," and has a page dedicated to Hyderabad Central University student Rohith Vemula and four other students who committed suicide this year, describing them as "victims of institutional murders."

"The magazine aims at upholding freedom of speech in particular. The content of the magazine evaluates how the current governmental regime affects the educational system of our nation," Anjali G, editor of the magazine, told The Deccan Chronicle.

"It evaluates how students are deeply affected by the saffronisation of education," she said.

Almost 100 BJP volunteers organized a sit-in protest in front of the Pondicherry Central University gate on Monday, and disrupted traffic on the road, while calling for a ban on the magazine.

ABPV protestors said that the magazine carried "anti-national" and obscene material.

"Yes, we will protest even if someone writes a Facebook post or tweets against our country. Freedom of speech at the cost of our country's modesty?," BJP leader V. Swaminathan told The News Minute.

One student told The Hindu that the content of the magazine had divided the student body.

"There is no threat to freedom of expression under the NDA rule as could be seen by the release of the magazine by the Students Council. But the content in the magazine can be questioned as it is not at all reasonable," a senior faculty member told the newspaper.

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