The controversy over an event in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the subsequent arrest of the varsity’s student union — JNUSU, President Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest under the charges of sedition is set to echo on the floor of Parliament in the Budget session starting next week. Kumar was arrested last week after an event where a protest was held against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. There are allegations that ‘anti-India’ slogans were raised at the event.
Strongly opposing the BJP-led NDA government on the issue of arrest of the student leader and police raids inside the campus, the Opposition, including Congress party, Left front and the JD(U) has now said that they will raise the issue both inside and outside the Parliament.
“Modi government is stifling and bending the voice of students…It is therefore appropriate that Congress party will raise the issue both inside and outside the Parliament,” Congress party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told Rajya Sabha TV.
Meanwhile, upping their ante against students at JNU began their strike early on Monday. A section of teachers too have backed the strike called by the students, though they are yet to join it.
On the other hand, Vice Chancellor of the JNU made an appeal asking students not to go on a strike.
“I believe there is no need for strikes as the problem can be solved amicably… We are reaching out to the entire JNU community to see how the problem can be addressed but academic functioning of the university is of prime importance and should not be hampered,” Vice Chancellor Jadesh Kumar told the press adding that University’s probe panel will come out with its report over the incident by next week, Februray 25.
On Sunday, besides the teachers at the JNU, teacher’s bodies of 40 central universities, including Pune-based FTII, Hyderabad Central University (HCU) came out in support of the agitating students.
“It was wrong on the university’s part to allow the police crackdown on campus before completion of a probe by the university’s proctorial committee,” JNU teacher’s association JNUTA president Vikramaditya told a press conference.
“Neither Kanhaiya (arrested student leader) was the organiser, nor he was associated with the event. He went their just to intervene when the argument between ABVP members and organisers started heating up. But he has been framed,” he added.
On the political front, the government-opposition divide over the issue has only got broader after leader of Opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad took on Union Home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday over his claims that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Sayeed supported the event at the JNU.
“The incident at JNU has received support from Hafiz Saeed. This is a truth that the nation needs to understand,” Singh had said, adding, “What has happened is very unfortunate”.
The Left parties too questioned Rajnath Singh over his remarks and sought the government to share the evidence in support of his claims.
“Considering the gravity of the charge made by no less than the Union Home Minister, we would like him to share the evidence with the country…. We hope that he has concrete proof,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury shared on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
Yechury, who was the part of the Left Front-JD(U) delegation that had met Singh on Sunday over JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, further added that Union Home minister did not mention anything about LeT founder Hafeez Saeed to the opposition leaders during the meeting.
The ruling BJP, on its part, said there should be no attempt to politicise the JNU issue.
“Doing politics over the (JNU) issue is very serious and dangerous. If some parties try to make it a political issue it is unfortunate,” MoS Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said.