Complaint received over depiction of King Mahabali in Onam poster to support Hamas: JNU VC

NewsDrum Desk
10 Nov 2023
New Update

New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI) The JNU administration has received a complaint from some students over the alleged depiction of king Mahabali draped in the colours of the Palestinian flag in an Onam poster at the university's Convention Centre, officials said Friday.


They alleged that their religious sentiments were hurt by the depiction.

"See the political manipulation of King Mahabali who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu to support Hamas... A group of students belonging to Kerala have complained as it hurt their feelings," Vice Cancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, told PTI.

The students have raised objection to the extended festivities of Onam which was celebrated in August and suggested that the upcoming festival of Diwali could have been celebrated in its place, she added.


JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh claimed that no such complaint has been made by the students and alleged that the administration is lying due to the criticism received by several politicians over the cancellation of Onam celebrations at the university's Convention Centre.

The Onam poster does not specifically show solidarity with Palestine and stands for several other issues happening around the world, she added.

"No complaint has been made by the students. The administration is lying since the issue has been criticised widely in the southern India," she said.


Ghosh further said that the administration had previously allowed holding of various religious festivals at the Convention Centre, but the permission for Onam celebrations at the venue was withheld.

"JNUSU had opposed the Garbh Sanskar programme organised at the Convention Centre by an organisation affiliated to the RSS which aimed at imparting cultural and patriotic values to infants while still in the womb. Did she cancel these events?" she asked.

Meanwhile, the JNU administration on Thursday claimed that no permission for food festival on Onam was sent to the vice chancellor and the "politically manipulated" poster was later changed to food festival for Onam.


An acknowledgement receipt of the booking, however, was shared by Ghosh on X.

Responding to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's post over the issue on X, the JNU's official social media handel said, "Half truths need to be verified and condemned not glorified." Tharoor had reacted to the news of an alleged ban on Onam celebrations on the campus.

"If JNU has blocked Onam celebrations by Keralite students on the campus, as some reports allege, that is a hugely retrograde step... JNU should be encouraging such celebrations, not banning them. They showcase the best of our culture rather than the bigotry and communal prejudice that masquerades as Bharatiyata these days," he wrote.


Kerala Minister for Higher Education R Bindu had also condemned the alleged ban calling it an RSS "agenda".

"It is most unfortunate to learn that the university authorities have imposed a ban on Onam celebration by the Kerala students on the campus which has been an annual affair. This is nothing but a Sangh Parivar agenda against Kerala,” she alleged.

The booking for Onam celebrations was cancelled by the administration citing "religiosity", students had alleged on Wednesday.

Onam is celebrated to honour demon King Mahabali and to mark the harvest season and the end of the monsoon.

People believe that on this particular day of Thiruvonam Lord Mahavishnu in his fifth avatar as Vamana, appeared in the kingdom of King Mahabali and sent him to the netherworld. PTI SJJ MNK SJJ MNK MNK