It’s been two days since some Hindu students organised a protest at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, where they demanded that Hindus stop being intimidated and told Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s supporters to leave India.
Several students and alumni have since come forward to refute these claims of Hindu students facing discrimination on Jamia’s campus. However, Rahul Tiwari, the first-year master’s student who organised the protest maintains his version of things.
He told LiveWire, that Hindu students have been beaten up twice in the past few months, adding, “There are some radical students in the university who oppose the mindset which opposes their viewpoint.”
Tiwari, who goes by Rahul Bhartiya on Facebook (where he first posted about the protest), added that he was driven to organise collectively after Jamia’s administration failed to take his and other Hindu students’ complaints seriously.
When asked about raising slogans against Jinnah supporters, Tiwari said that students who have opposed Jinnah’s ideology publicly in class groups and on social media, have been threatened by other students by verbally in person as well as an on public forums like social media platforms. He said, “This is the reason I mentioned in my FB post that those who love Jinnah are invited to Jullena Chowk.”
However, when LiveWire spoke to other Hindu students on campus, they had a different version of life at Jamia.
Kritika Gupta, a second-year master’s student of development communication said she has never experienced any kind of discrimination. “All my friends in Jamia are Muslims and we have never exchanged anything that amounts to discrimination.”
“Personally I want to say that I feel unsafe in other parts of the city, but I have never experienced a single incident in Jamia Millia where I feel threatened or discriminated,” she said.
Another student, Prakhar Kumar, who is pursuing a masters in history and has been at Jamia for two years now, also said that Hindus in Jamia do not feel threatened. Referring to Tiwari, Kumar said, “If he perceived the issues in any such manner that implies Hindus are not safe, well that becomes highly communal.”
Responding to such pushback, Tiwari said, “Kaata mujhe laga hai, dard mujhe hai. Agla bol raha hai, mujhe dard nahi ho raha.” (A thorn has pricked me, I am the one feeling pain but the other person is saying that he is not feeling that pain.) He added that Hindu students who don’t raise issues related to discrimination are the one who don’t feel threatened or intimidated.
“They are silent on issues like the Geeta, they are silent on issues like Jinnah, they are silent on issues that happen across the country. Those Hindu students who are trying to initiate a campaign that they feel safe in Jamia, remain silent on the issues of Hindus,” said Tiwari.
Kumar strongly opposed this view, reiterating that Tiwari is viewing Jamia’s student-life through a communal lens, trying to cause a political spectacle. He added that he thinks Tiwari’s protest is a political stunt in the run-up to the polarising, bitterly contested Karnataka state elections.
Since the protest focused on the discrimination of Hindu students at Jamia, several people have identified Tiwari as an RSS or ABVP member, however, he denied any formal affiliation. Tiwari said, “I support the ideology of RSS but I am not affiliated with any organisation.”
Sumaira Rizvi is a final year master’s student of Convergent Journalism at AJK-MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia.