Expressing concerns over Sunday’s mob attack on Jawaharlal Nehru students, Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee said that the “real worry” for him was youth resorting to violence for resolving conflicts.
“The recourse to violence is extremely frightening for the future sense of policy because it does create this worry for the youth of today. Their way of resolving a conflict is by beating other people. That’s the real worry for me,” JNU alumnus Banerjee said at the Express Adda on Monday.
“I think any Indian who cares about the nation’s image in the world should worry. This has too many echoes of the years when Germany was moving towards Nazi rule,” he added.
He has urged the government to establish “the truth of what happened” and not let it get drowned in the chorus of counter-accusations.
On January 5, a group of masked goons armed with sticks and rods barged into the Jawaharlal Nehru University attacking students and teachers. At least 30 people, including JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured and admitted to hospitals.
The chaos remained on the campus for about two hours.
“It is important to have space where we can both disagree but still communicate. It is important for us to have that space to dissent. For an institution like the JNU, what is valuable is the sense that you can be both, somebody who has strong views and somebody who can deal with it intellectually without becoming violent,” Banerjee said.
Speaking at the event, Banerjee recalled how he himself faced police action and was jailed for a week during student protests at JNU in 1983 when he was pursuing an MA in Economics at the university.
“It was the summer of ’83 and we, the students of JNU, had gheraoed the vice-chancellor in his house for the umpteenth time. The pretext was the expulsion of the president of the student union, the Kanhaiya Kumar of the day, for reasons that escape me now,” Banerjee said.