HRD Minister Smriti Irani today denounced the protest march in JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, saying the nation will never tolerate “insult” to mother India.
“I only want to say that today is the day of worship of Goddess Saraswati. Saraswati blesses every family that whatever they speak is for progress and strengthening the nation. Let mother India be praised. Nation will never tolerate insult to mother India,” she told reporters when asked to comment on the incident at JNU.
In her speech earlier at an event organised by an RSS-linked body working in the field of education, Irani made a veiled reference to the protests at JNU, saying that when she heard ‘Vande Mataram’ and “prayers to the mother” being recited by students, she experienced a sense of satisfaction.
“I felt satisfied that there are teachers who teach children to pray for the nation and not anti-India slogans,” she said.
Irani said while errors made by a doctor or engineer may be rectified, the entire society has to pay the price for the mistakes of a teacher. She also said that most students if asked what they wanted to become, talk about medicine or engineering.
The minister was speaking at a principals’ conference organised by Vidya Bharati-Akhil Bhartiya Siksha Sansthan.
Her comments come against the backdrop of a controversy at JNU, which erupted earlier this week when some students had pasted posters across the campus inviting people to a protest march against what they claimed was “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt” and in solidarity with “struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination” at the varsity’s Sabarmati dhaba.
Members of ABVP objected to the event and wrote to the Vice Chancellor that such kind of protest should not be held on the campus of an educational institution, prompting the university administration to order cancellation of the march as they “feared” it might “disrupt” peace.
The JNU administration had already ordered a “disciplinary” inquiry into the incident saying that the act of students going ahead with the event despite cancellation of permission amounted to indiscipline and any talk about country’s disintegration cannot be “national”.
Yesterday, Delhi Police had registered a case of sedition against “unknown persons” in connection with the event, following complaints by BJP MP Mahesh Girri and BJP’s student front ABVP.