JNU alumni Jaishankar and Sitharaman condemn violence on campus

Foreign minister S Jaishankar and Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman condemned the violence saying it was against JNU’s tradition | PTI File

Two eminent former students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who are now Union Cabinet ministers in the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, on Sunday, condemned the violence on the varsity campus. Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman condemned the violence saying it was against the JNU’s tradition.

Sitharaman had completed her MA and MPhil from the School of Social Sciences (SSS) and School of International Studies (SIS), respectively. Jaishankar did his MPhil and doctoral research in SIS, specialising in nuclear diplomacy.

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“The violence is against the tradition and culture of the university. Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university,” the foreign minister said in a tweet.

During their student days in JNU, both Sitharaman and Jaishankar were Free Thinkers – a group which were anti-Left but not necessarily Right of Centre. The foreign minister was also considered an ideologue of that group. Information Technology (IT) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also a member of that group during his JNU days.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman who has been critical of student politics in JNU, said in a tweet, “Horrifying images from JNU — the place I know & remember was one for fierce debates & opinions but never violence. I unequivocally condemn the events of today. This govt, regardless of what has been said the past few weeks, wants universities to be safe spaces for all students.”

In a first, JNU administration had last year conferred ‘distinguished alumni’ award to Sitharaman and Jaishankar.

Such an award did not exist in JNU before, the university said Sitharaman’s and Jaishankar’s careers and achievements are a “great source of inspiration” for JNU students.

Sitharaman who has repeatedly criticised student politics had last year said that those involved in protests in JNU were “anti-India.”

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“I feel sad at what is happening in the institution. It is not encouraging at all. It is very different to have a party, whose ideology I may not agree (with), but the way in which they are probably led by forces which are anti-India. When I say anti-India, definitely it is a stated position. They are waging a war against India in their pamphlets and their brochures. That makes me feel uneasy,” she said after an all-Left students’ union was elected at the university.

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