US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, Richard A. Boucher, had to cancel a planned visit on Wednesday to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after a two-day protest by Leftist student unions.
“Boucher was going to make a presentation on the Indo-US nuclear deal and then invite questions from the student community,” said Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a professor at the School of International Studies at JNU that had organized the lecture. “However, it was not prudent on part of the administration to invite Boucher for the lecture at a time when the nuke deal is a debatable issue and pending before the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
Left parties withdrew support to the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance in July to protest the civilian nuclear accord.
Hundreds of students, particularly from the Left-dominated All India Students’ Association and Students Federation of India, blocked the entrance of the university on Wednesday raising slogans against Boucher, forcing him to cancel the visit.
“I spoke to students and asked them to let Boucher at least enter the premises. I guess it was bad timing for him as Left student groups didn’t relent in their demand to keep Boucher out of the campus,” Chenoy said.