JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) incident where a group of students held protests against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to mark his death anniversary, has snowballed into a massive controversy which sparked student protests across Delhi.
JNU students union President Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested by the Delhi police on charges of sedition after Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned that the government will not tolerate anti-national activities and has promised strict action against those students.
“I have instructed Delhi Police to take strongest possible action against those involved in the incident….Government will not tolerate any anti-national activities in the country,” said the Home Minister.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest prompted a sharp reaction from the Left parties. Kumar has now been remanded into police custody for 3 days by a trial court.
“As a political party, we condemn any anti-India slogan. If law enforcing authorities want to act against those elements, let them do it in accordance with law. But in the name of taking action against such elements, they should not target entire Left students’ bodies,” CPI national secretary D Raja said.
Even as the Left condemned Kumar’s arrest, the BJP welcomed it.
Meanwhile, the JNU administration said that the university was not a platform for activities that violate the Constitution. Even the entry of outsiders was barred into the campus.
“While the JNU community upholds the right to free debate on campus, the university strongly condemns its use as a platform for activities that violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. However, there could be aberrations where fringe sections misuse the freedom provided,” the newly appointed Vice Chancellor Jagdeesh Kumar said.
On Thursday, Delhi Police registered a case of sedition against the protesting students who were shouting anti-national slogans after complaints were filed by BJP MP Maheish Girri and RSS’ student front ABVP.
ABVP students are said to have submitted a video of the event where the protesting students are allegedly shouting slogans and calling Afzal a “martyr”.
An FIR under Section of 124 A of IPC (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) has been registered against unknown persons at Vasant Kunj (North) Police station and the video footage of the event is being examined for further action, said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat on Thursday.
On Tuesday a group of students in Jawaharlal Nehru University held an event at the campus on the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, and shouted slogans against the government for hanging him.
The university administration claims that they did not provide the required permission to hold the event after ABVP members raised the alarm and claimed that the event was ‘anti-national’. Members of ABVP objected to the event and wrote to the Vice Chancellor. This prompted the administration to cancel the permission for the march as it “feared” that it might “disrupt” peace in the campus.
JNU administration has now instituted a “disciplinary” enquiry and said that it will wait for the probe report before taking any further action.
Meanwhile, Girri also wrote to the JNU Vice Chancellor and the HRD Ministry seeking action against the organisers and participants of the event.
The left-dominated JNU students union distanced itself from the controversy, saying that ABVP was opposed to it and not the union. Of the four top posts of the union, three are held by Leftist AISA and AISF and one by ABVP.
The Left leaders of the union called the ABVP complaint an attempt to curb the “democratic traditions” of the university.
The controversy at JNU had erupted earlier this week when some students had put up posters across the campus inviting people to a protest march against “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt” and in solidarity with “struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self determination”.
(With inputs from PTI)