Lucknow University has threatened its students with “strict disciplinary action” if they are found roaming around the varsity’s co-ed campus on 14 February, Valentine’s Day.
“The university will remain closed on February 14, 2018 because of Mahashivratri celebrations. If, despite the advisory and notice, any student is found roaming about the campus of the University, the University will take disciplinary actions against them,” said the varsity.
The university clarified that it will remain shut to discourage students form celebrating Valentine’s Day.
“In the last few years, it has come to notice that influenced by western culture, many youth celebrate February 14 as Valentine's Day. In this perspective, the University notifies all the students enrolled at the co-ed campus of the University, that February 14 will be a holiday,” said the statement.
The varsity has also requested the parents of the students enrolled to prohibit their wards from visiting the campus.
The university has issued such notices on Valentine’s Day in the past as well. In 2009, the varsity had banned carrying flowers and gifts to campus on 14 February. A list of Dos and Don’ts was issued in 2014.
On this day, members of right-wing organisations – which appoint themselves as custodians of Indian culture and demonise Valentine’s Day as the corrupting Western influence – visit restaurants, parks, and other public places in different parts of the country, targetting couples and damaging property.
For example, posters have come up at Ahmedabad in Gujarat, advising youngsters to stay away from ‘love jihad’. Most of these posters have been put up outside colleges. One half of the poster shows a woman’s face, which is semi-covered by a burqa and is captioned ‘Hindu women, be warned’. The other half of it reads “Say no to Valentine’s Day”.
Justifying this vigilantism, Hindu right-wing group Bajrang Dal said the posters were meant to make youngsters aware of the dangers of “love jihad” and how Valentine’s Day is “posing a threat to the Indian culture”.