Abhijit Banerjee: The story of JNU, when Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee had to stay in Tihar for 10 days: Indian-American economist Abhijeet Banerjee has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics this year. Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) connection of the Nobel laureate is also in the news because he went to Tihar while studying in this university. In fact, the then JNU President NR Mohanty was expelled from the campus, which was strongly opposed by many students including Nobel laureate Abhijeet Banerjee. aajtak.in had a special conversation with NR Mohanty and knew what the whole matter was.
Why was JNU Administration not happy?
JNU is considered a stronghold of the Khanty Left, but there was a major reshuffle in the 1982-83 student union election as the frozen Left (AISA) had to face defeat. JNU Administration was also not happy with this. At that time, a student leader was formed from the bar of the left organizations established. Then the writer NR Mohanty had won the post of student union president. His organization broke the myth of the leftists established in JNU. During that time, Abhijeet Banerjee had openly supported Mohanty. This year, there was such a storm of protest in JNU, in which Abhijeet Banerjee also had to go to jail. At that time, JNU student Yogendra Yadav, Sindhu Jha, Sunil Gupta and CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s guru SN Malakar were very active in student politics.
What was the reason for the revolt in JNU?
Writer NR Mohanty told that JNU Administration had expelled a student from the hostel. There was a lot of resentment among the students about this. I was the President of Student Union at that time. We went to meet the Vice Chancellor regarding this matter, when the student was asked about the reason for his removal from the hostel, the VC’s reply was that he had misbehaved. At the same time, there was a demand of the students that any action should be taken only after investigation.
Mohanty told that earlier a student who was expelled from the hostel had compelled a teacher. After this Complaint, students also started demanding to expel the teacher. Since the administration was not happy with our organization, that is why it was not ready for investigation and we too remained adamant on our demand. Meanwhile, a double lock was made in the hostel room of the student by the administration, after which the whole matter was spoiled.
Nearly 700 students were arrested
Mohanty told that after the hostel room was locked, we started protesting and broke the lock and made entry in that student’s room. After this, there was a complete ruckus. The JNU administration had expelled me, the union secretary and that student from the campus. It was only after this action that the students surrounded the entire JNU and the Vice Chancellor. The matter was so hot at that time that the police had to interfere. After this, the police arrested us and took us. Around 700 students went to jail, in which there were about 250 girls. Mohanty told that Abhijeet Banerjee was my junior, but he was in our support from the beginning. He also had to stay with me in Tihar Jail for this protest.
Abhijeet Banerjee was not in any union
NR Mohanty told that Abhijeet Banerjee was not in any union, but when I fought as President candidate in JNU election, he supported me openly. He told that we had made a small organization in the JNU campus. His name was Students for Democratic Socialism. Due to this organization, I became the President of JNU. Mohanty told that even though Abhijeet was not associated with the organization, we used to have a view on the ideas. Mohanty told that last year I went to America. I thought that I would meet Abhijeet in Boston, but he went to Paris in summer vacation. His wife Esther Duflo is of French origin and went to his in-laws during the holidays. However, Abhijeet has said to meet on arrival in India.
Tihar was mentioned after Kanhaiya episode
JNU has been targeting BJP supporters for some time. In February, after the Kanhaiya episode, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee wrote an article. He said that we need a place of thinking like JNU and the government should definitely stay away from it. In this same article, he also mentioned about cutting Tihar Jail 10 days in 1983. He wrote that 1983 we JNU students had sieged VC. The VC had expelled the President of our Student Union at that time. Meanwhile, the police came and took away hundreds of students, we were also beaten up. But there was no such case as treason. However, there were allegations of attempt to murder.