Harshit Agarwal, who posted the following message on Quora in response to the question was in JNU when the first clashes took place on 9th February
I am a JNU student studying right now and also happen to be a witness from distance for some events that happened on that controversial date – 9th February 2016. So, that kind of renders me more legitimate to answer this question than people who only know about it through Zee News and Times Now. On 9th February 2016, ex-members of a student organization DSU, short for ‘Democratic Students Union’ had called for a cultural meeting of a protest against what they called ‘the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat’ and in solidarity with ‘the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination.’ A lot of Kashmiri students from inside and outside the campus were to attend the event. Democratic Students Union is a very small group of very well read students. They are not terrorists or naxals by any means. I have been in the campus for more than 2 years and never have I witnessed or heard of them committing a terror activity as much as of throwing a stone, let alone overthrowing the state.
Twenty minutes before the meeting was going to start, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing all-India student organisation, reached out to the administration asking it to withdraw the permission of the meeting as it was “harmful for the campus’ atmosphere. The administration acquiesced fearing clashes. DSU then asked JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union) and other leftist student organizations such as the SFI (Students Federation of India), and AISA (All India Students Association) to help them hold their meeting ‘democratically and peacefully’.
The administration sent security guards to cover the badminton court where the meeting was supposed to happen and denied permission to use microphones. The organizers decided they would continue the meeting around the dhaba area on the campus without the mics. Agarwal alleged that ABVP members gathered there and started threatening and intimidating the students — many of them Kashmiris — who turned up for the meeting. They started shouting slogans such as “Ye Kashmir Hamara hai, saara ka saara hai.” The organizers countered them with the slogan: “Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!”
Do you think there was something highly inflammatory and dangerous in this statement? Think about it. Nations break all the time. We were chanting the same slogan under Britishers. Soviet Union disintegrated. Secession is neither good nor bad. It depends on the precise circumstances of the region. And mind you, I don’t support the secession of Kashmir. I claim to have insufficient knowledge of the situation and conditions of the people residing in that region. Hence, I am neither for nor against it. Hence, I have no problems with a group of students simply shouting slogans in support of a particular region’s freedom. They were not planning a conspiracy to overthrow the government and seize Kashmir from India. They were simple students who read, travel and learn about socio-political issues and have a stand about it.