JNU students' union president N Sai Balaji hit out at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her statement alleging there are forces in the varsity which are "waging a war" against India. He went on to allege that Ms Sitharaman herself has not answered questions on the Rafale deal.
Ms Sitharaman's comments came days after candidates backed by Left groups won all four key posts in the JNU Students Union elections and clashes took place between members of the RSS-backed Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Left-affiliated All India Students Association (AISA).
When asked about developments at JNU, Ms Sitharaman had said, "There are forces which are waging a war against India and it is they who are also seen with elected representatives of students union. That makes me feel uneasy."
"The kind of things which have happened in the last few years (in JNU) are not really encouraging at all. It is very different to have a party whose ideology you may not agree with. But the way in which they were probably got led by forces which are anti-India," she said.
"They are waging a war against India, pamphlets suggest. Their brouchers say that. Such people leading the JNUSU or JNUSU members openly participating with such forces, you do not need to hesitate to say anti-India, therefore," Ms Sitharaman said.
The JNUSU president attacked the government, claiming that "The government wants the country to talk about the national versus anti-national debate. They want to divert attention from the real issues - the Rafale deal, the Jio university, unemployment."
Ms Sitharaman, who herself, is an alumni of JNU, has not answered questions "why Ambani was helped in the Rafale deal", he alleged.
"They want to end public-funded education and encourage corporatisation while the common man talks about nationalism and anti-national elements," he claimed.
On February 9, 2016, an event against Afzal Guru's hanging was held on the JNU campus during which "slogans against the country" were allegedly raised, propelling the university to the centre of a countrywide debate on nationalism.
A JNU panel had in 2016 recommended rustication of Umar Khalid and two other students and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kanhaiya Kumar, the then students' union president, in connection with the campus event.
Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested in February 2016 on charges of sedition in connection with the controversial event and are out on bail.
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