A soon to be unveiled statue of Swami Vivekananda on JNU campus was vandalised on Thursday as student protests continued over the hostel fee hike despite a partial rollback. The pedestal of the statue was littered with "objectionable messages", according to news agency PTI.
The statue, which is covered in a saffron cloth, is located at the university's administrative block.
JNU Students' Union representatives denied their involvement. "The acts of vandalism are a conspiracy to defame the university and its democratic culture by right wing forces.
"The VC (vice-chancellor), the ruling regime and their lackeys on campus, which is the ABVP, want to divert the issue from the fee hike to pointless and polarising debates," JNUSU members said in a statement.
The JNUSU said the student community does not endorse acts of vandalism and those doing it should not use the movement's name to justify such acts.
"We condemn unequivocally the attempts to malign the JNU student movement through acts which do not represent the JNU student movement," it said in the statement.
"Students with their future at stake due to the hostel fee hike can never be perpetrators of any violence or undemocratic action," the student's union said.
The ABVP's JNU unit president Durgesh Kumar and secretary Manish Jangid said in a joint statement that the Left was trying to revive its "flop agenda".
"At a time when the common student of JNU is fighting for his rights, the Left is unsuccessfully trying to revive its flop agenda," they said.
On Wednesday, students had painted various messages for vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar inside the administration block of the university as they barged inside the building to talk to him about the hostel fee hike.
By evening, the fee hike saw a partial rollback and JNU said the clauses in the Draft Hostel Manual pertaining to the dress code and curfew timings were also removed.
Hundreds of students, led by the JNUSU, had barged inside the administration block to talk to the VC and on not finding him and other officials in the building, painted messages on the walls near his office.
"You are not our VC. Go back to your Sangh," they wrote on one of the doors to the VC's office. Another message written on the floor outside the office read, "Mamidala, Bye, Bye Forever."
The varsity administration, after facing two weeks of protests, rolled back the hostel fee hike partially for BPL students not availing any scholarship. Students dubbed the move an "eyewash".
with PTI inputs