Student leader Kanhaiya Kumar returned to the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Thursday night, three weeks after his arrest. He got a hero’s welcome on his arrival.
Addressing a massive crowd of students who gathered to show support to him, Kanhaiya spoke about freedom within India, and not from India.
29-year-old Kanhaiya was arrested for sedition for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event in JNU that was held as a mark of protest against the hanging of Parliament convict Afzal Guru. Kanhaiya was granted bail on Wednesday evening.
“I have many differences with the PM but I agree with his tweet Satyameva Jayate because these words are in our Constitution,” he said, in his passionate speech amid loud cheers.
“We are not seeking ‘azaadi'(freedom) from India. We want ‘azaadi’ within India,” Kanhaiya said while attacking the Narendra Modi government.
Kumar said he had no ill feelings towards anyone and won’t indulge in “witch hunting” towards RSS’s student outfit ABVP.
“There is no animosity towards ABVP because we are democratic. We see them as our opposition… We truly believe in democracy and Constitution.” he said.
Kanhaiya alleged that his arrest was a planned attack on JNU.
“This attack is to delegitimise the UGC protests, to prevent justice to Rohith Vemula(the dalit scholar in Hyderabad who committed suicide,” he said.
“If you speak against the government, their cyber cell will frame you using doctored videos and count the number of condoms in your hostel,” Kanhaiya said while referring to some statements made by BJP leaders.
“Let me just say it is not easy to get admission in JNU neither it is easy to silence those in JNU,” he added.
Thanking all who stood by him while he was in jailed, Kanhaiya reiterated that he believed in the Constitution and Judiciary of India.
“Is seeking freedom from thorny issues confronting India a crime?,” he asked.
He criticised PM Modi and his policies on several issues. He alleged that the government was trying to stifle dissent and create false binary situations.
Kanhaiya and the hundreds of students who gathered, also repeatedly raised the ‘Azadi’ slogan, seeking freedom from casteism, patriarchy and injustice among others.
Former members of the ABVP’s JNU unit, who resigned recently, were also present among the audience.
Kanhaiya’s speech was lauded by several leaders.
“What a brilliant speech by Kanhaiya,” tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
(With inputs from PTI)