'Azadi' chants like JNU erupt at Columbia University; Here's what happened | VIDEO

While the date and complete authenticity of the video remain unverified, the use of "azadi" raises questions.

Mayank Kasyap
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Courtesy: X/CampusJewHate

New Delhi: A video circulating on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) has captured a scene from a pro-Palestine protest at Columbia University, sparking questions about the nature and messages conveyed during the demonstration.

Columbia University has become a focal point for pro-Palestine activism in New York City. These protests have continued despite the arrest of 108 demonstrators earlier this week.

The undated video, posted by an account titled "Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus," shows a woman leading chants in Hindi, calling for "azadi" (freedom) for Palestine. The iconic Low Memorial Library can be seen in the background of the video.

Chants raise eyebrows

The woman, who appears to be of Indian origin based on her attire (bindi), is heard chanting slogans in Hindi that translate to:

  • "What do we want? Freedom... Palestine's freedom..."
  • "We will snatch this freedom, it is our right..."
  • "Biden listen, Freedom... Netanyahu listen, Freedom... Modi listen, Freedom..."

Is this concerning?

While the date and complete authenticity of the video remain unverified, the use of "azadi" raises questions. These slogans have a complex history in India, often associated with calls for separatism or social unrest.

  • JNU Parallels: Similar "azadi" chants have been documented at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), particularly during events organized by left-wing student groups. A notable instance occurred in 2016 during a commemoration of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack.
  • Kashmiri Militancy: The chants were also prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir during the peak of militancy in the region.

Tensions in campus

These developments come amidst heightened tensions at Columbia University. On Thursday, at least 108 protesters were arrested after university president Nemat Minouche Shafik authorized the New York Police Department to clear their encampment.

Several students involved in the protest, including Isra Hirsi (daughter of U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar), reportedly faced suspension from Barnard College, an affiliate of Columbia University.

The video and its message will likely fuel further discussions about the nature of the pro-Palestine protests at Columbia and the broader context of such demonstrations.