Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) M Jagadesh Kumar on Sunday asked Union ministers to help the university procure an army tank which can be put up on display in the campus, so that students can be reminded of the sacrifices and valour of soldiers.
Kumar called on the Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh to help the University procure a tank.
"Would like to request VK Singh ji to help us procure an Army tank so that we can put it on display in the university. Presence of an Army tank will constantly remind students of great sacrifice and valor of Indian Army and defence forces," said Kumar.
Kumar was speaking at the first ever celebration of Kargil Vijay Diwas on the JNU campus, organised by the university administration and Veterans India. Besides Singh, Minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, Major General (retd) G D Bakshi and author Rajiv Malhotra were part of the event, which began with a Tiranga March from the main gate to the Convention Centre, carrying a 2,200 foot-long tricolor.
Addressing the gathering, Pradhan said, "The JNU has set an example in the country for its respect for the Indian Army. I congratulate the JNU V-C for organising this kind of historic event. It is a proud day for every citizen of the country."
Major General (retd) GD Bakshi termed JNU as a "new and transformed campus”. Taking a jibe at the Left-leaning students in JNU he said, "See how we turned things around. We want to make them understand how people in the Army lay down their lives. Last year, what happened at JNU was a clear show of shamelessness by separatist forces.”
The demand however came into criticism with Samajwadi Party (SP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) on Monday strongly criticising the demand made by V-C. SP leader Naresh Agarwal said that it was strange to have people of such mentality.
Agarwal told ANI, "It’s strange to have people of such mentality. How would Army’s tank be an inspiration?”
CPI (M) leader D Raja said that the JNU V-C should be instead demanding the instillation of the renowned mathematician Aryabhatta, as it would convey some message. "I don’t know what he thinks of JNU. It is the country’s number one institution. It is not the army’s station. He should demand the installation the renowned mathematician Aryabhatta’s statue. It would at least convey some message,” he said.
Kumar, however, has defended his statement by saying the tank will represent JNU's strong association with India's defence institutions.
The rally, a first of its kind on the JNU campus, comes over a year after the February, 9, 2016 event in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised and students of the university, including its then students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, were arrested on charges of sedition.