Five students of National Law University, Delhi on Sunday staged a protest during a stand-up comedy show held at the University’s auditorium..Abish Mathew of the AIB roast infamy was invited to perform at NLU Delhi’s cultural fest, Kairos. The comedian would have felt a rude sense of déjà vu when a couple of female students walked out during his routine, only to return with two more students holding placards saying “Get Out Sexist Pig”. At this juncture, the other students present in the auditorium forced the girls to move to the aisle, where they continued to heckle the performer by brandishing the middle finger and asking him to “get the f*** out”. Sensing that he had overstayed his welcome, the comedian got off stage well before the one and a half hour set was completed..Apparently, the protestors took offence to jokes cracked about Former UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s appearance; domestic violence committed by Malayali men and hackneyed references to women being bad drivers..While some students have come out in support of the protestors, the majority of them are questioning the girls’ intentions, terming their actions as a publicity stunt. A few of them criticised the protestors’ disregard for the performer’s right to expression and the rest of the audience’s right to get their money’s worth..The incident has sparked a social media debate on the freedom of expression versus the right to protest..Arushi Mahajan, one of the four students who chose to protest, stated on Facebook,.“We were exercising our right to protest (regardless of our prior information to him coming and us choosing to attend the event despite that). There were 4-6 girls standing in an auditorium full of 200 people, we ultimately chose to move to the side. The event continued despite our protest. His right to crack jokes was not taken away, but given the reactions of our college community, our right to protest was nipped in the bud. After it got over, we were surrounded and abused. Our clothes were commented upon. I was pushed. So much concern for the personal safety of a rich and famous comedian, while the four faceless protestors faced the ire for not conforming [to] popular standards of entertainment.”.When contacted, Mahajan refused to comment, saying that a public discussion would be held at the university. The faculty members of the NLU Delhi declined to comment on the issue..Abish Mathew, who did not respond at the time of publication of this article, posted this on his Facebook page, perhaps in response to the incident –.“If I made my jokes any cleaner, I’d have to sell it as hand sanitizer!”.Update: The protestors have written an open letter describing their version of the events and their views on the same. Here a few excepts from the same:.“We believe that sexism is all pervasive and even if propagated in the garb of humor causes greater social harm than mere insult or offence. Sexist jokes serve not only to trivialize grave issues such as domestic violence, but also render these issues invisible within larger institutional structures of oppression, thereby reifying these structures.”“Moreover, denying us our right to protest would have impinged on our right to free speech. If we deem only speech recognized as deserving of legitimate state restrictions as expression which can be legitimately protested against by non-state actors, that would spell death for free speech of dissent.”“…while Abish Mathew may have the right to free speech, to our mind, he does not have the right to the platform of our University auditorium because we are trying to create a space where people belonging to all genders feel safe, and our protest was against the use of University space to perpetuate sexism through humour.”.Image taken from here.