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The JNU mess - India student leader held on sedition charges

The JNU mess India student leader held on sedition charges pardesi news 1459247796

The JNU has turned into a major political war-zone. Massive political debates are on about what extent of free speech expressions is considered seditious.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) imbroglio has taken a massive political turn in India.  The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested from the University campus following the rally that was against the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru. The rally was organized to commemorate the execution of Parliament attacker Afzal Guru. It was during the rally, few anti-India slogans were raised. He was arrested by the Delhi Police on February 12 on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy and is currently in juridical custody and is being questioned by officials from the Delhi Police.

Delhi Police teams are conducting raids in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. They are on the lookout for Umar Khalid, Anirbhan Bhattacharya, Riazul Haq and Rubina Saifee,  who  have allegedly organized the event on the eve of February 9, where anti-India slogans were raised.

According to the interrogation report, JNUSU president Kumar has accepted that he made a fiery speech where he criticized the RSS, the Modi Government and its policies. However, during his interrogation Kanhaiya also insisted that he did not say anything that was seditious. Kanhaiya also said that a lot of the people making the anti-India slogans were not from JNU but had come from outside JNU. He was detained from by campus by two civil dressed policemen. Police had sought for 5 days custody to know Kumar’s linkage with the Pakistani terrorist group. A report from the Intelligence Bureau also alleged that Umar Khalid, associate of Kanhaiya also one of the main organizers of the Afzal Guru event, is a sympathizer of the militant group - Jaish-e-Mohammed. He has been missing since the incident.

The Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh said, “If anyone raises anti-India slogans and tries to raise questions on the nation’s unity and integrity, they will not be spared”.  Just few hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the levitation of alleged anti-India slogans in JNU, it was Delhi Police who arrested the University’s student union president. Kanhaiya Kumar. He was arrested on the charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy.

Outside the university, scores of people demanded the arrest of those who shouted anti-India slogans at an event on the campus. The protesters also demanded the shut-down of what they said was “anti-national” administration of the varsity. The protesters said those who raised anti-India slogans at an event organized on February 9 to commemorate the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should be arrested.

#ShutDownJNU: Hashtag Surfaces as Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Call for Campus Shutdown. The BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that filtering the JNU hostel of anti-nationals is important. The BJP leader suggested that JNU should be ‘shut down for four months after the final examinations in May’ and should reopen only for those students who swear allegiance to the Constitution of India. "JNU must shut down for 4 months and reopen after getting the students to sign the affidavit stating to uphold constitution of India, only those would be allowed to come back," Subramanian Swamy said.

However, there is also some support for the accused.  Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi accused the Centre of suppressing the voices of young students.   The congress leader said that everybody has a right to disagree.  Protesters are demanding Kanhaiya Kumar's release, who was arrested for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at an event. Faculty members of University have marked the arrest as “excessive police action”.

Besides the JNU community, senior political opposition leaders such as Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Ajay Maken, Anand Sharma, Yogendra Yadav and Anand Kumar have also lend their support to the JNU protestors. The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has even written a letter to PM Modi raising concerns on the JNU developments. He wrote, "Whatever happened at Patiala House Court is failure of the system. The way students, professors and media personnel were assaulted inside the court room is just unbelievable. If people are not safe inside court rooms, then where are can we expect safety?"

Massive political debates are also on the University campus, television studios, social media, etc. about what extent of free speech expressions is considered seditious. Meanwhile, there are media reports of fresh scuffle outside the Patiala House court in Delhi. Lawyers assaulted pro Kanhaiya supporters, raising slogans – “Bharat Mata Ki Jay”.

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Patrick Callahan

Pardesi News Reporter

Pardesi News Reporter

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