When too many roads lead to JNU

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 25, 2016

Students irked as Google Maps search for ‘anti-national’, ‘sedition’ shows varsity

Searching with key words such as “anti-national”, “sedition”, “patriotism” and “Bharat mata ki jai” on Google Maps will now direct users to JNU, which is caught in a row over its students being booked under sedition.

The students of the university, who have been agitating against the alleged “branding” of JNU as “anti-national” after three of its students were arrested in connection with an event, have taken strong objection to the “technical certification”.

Google authorities, when contacted, said they are trying to resolve the issue.

“We will raise the issue with the administration to send an official communication to Google in this regard. We have been protesting against the branding of an institution as anti-national and now the search giant has gone a step ahead in certifying that,” JNU Students Union vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora said.

JNU has been in the news since last month over an event on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

Three students — Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya — were arrested in a sedition case, kicking a national versus anti-national debate across the country. They are now out on bail.

No joke

“When I noticed this (search result) on Google Maps, I laughed at it. But when I thought of it it seemed dangerous. “Dangerous not because it represents my university but for fact that anyone or institution can be termed so through the power of government and MNCs. Will Google Maps be answerable for this?” asked another student, N Sai Balaji.

A Google spokesperson said: “We are aware of the issue and are working on a fix.”

A JNU faculty member, who did not wish to be named said: “Though we have strong objections to JNU being referred to as anti-national, since Google Maps is throwing the same results for ‘patriotism’ and ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ as well, it could be a technical glitch too.”

Tech errors

However, this isn’t the first time that the map services of the tech giant has landed in a situation like this.

Last year, the users were directed to the White House when they searched for the keyword “nigger house” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name was reflected in the search of top 10 criminals.

In both the cases, Google had apologised for the technical errors.

Published on March 25, 2016
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