Cheers of “Azaadi” and “lal salaam” marked the celebrations which broke out among JNU students and teachers camping outside Parliament street police station, the moment they got to know about JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar has been granted bail in a sedition case.
The beating of the traditional JNU daflis with flags of different student organisations being raised marked the happiness and pride of the protesters who had marched to the Parliament from Mandi House on Wednesday afternoon and waited there for 4 hours for the Delhi High Court to announce its verdict.
“It’s a big victory for us in the struggle which has a long way to go. We have been waiting for Kanhaiya to be back on campus ever since he was sent to jail in a sedition case. It’s a huge relief for us and we will continue our struggle for Umar and Anirban who are still in jail,” JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora said while addressing the gathering.
Lenin, former JNU students union president said, “this will give our movement against the government an unprecedented strength and our faith will be reinforced that truth wins. They tried their best to establish him as a terrorist but could not find a single evidence against him despite their intensive investigation for 18 days”.
Kanhaiya, was arrested on February 12 in a sedition case in connection with an event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Five others – Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Anant Prakash and Anirban Bhattacharya had gone in hiding since then fearing “mob-lynching”.
They resurfaced back on campus 10 days later. While Umar and Anirban surrendered before the police, the remaining three refused to do so but maintained that they are open to questioning by police as and when needed.
Kanhaiya was on Wednesday granted interim bail for six months by the Delhi High Court which said that he has to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and has to present himself before the investigators as and when required.
Anant, Ashutosh and Rama Naga, who stepped out of the campus on Wednesday after they resurfaced, hugged each other and shouted slogans in solidarity with Kanhaiya.
“Our nationalism is different from theirs. We want freedom from poverty, corruption, intolerance, communalism and fascism. We will snatch that freedom from the government because it is our right,” Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU said.
The students and teachers celebrating outside the police station were joined by leaders from CPI and CPI(M).
While CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat claimed that the sedition charge was a “badge of honour” for raising voices of dissent, CPI-ML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said the government attacked JNU because they thought of it as a “soft target”.
Families of Rohith Vemula, Dalit research scholar who was found hanging in Hyderabad University hostel, as well as Umar Khalid, who is in custody in a sedition case, also joined the celebrations.
“My son Kanhaiya has been granted bail as they had no evidence against him. Umar and Anirban will also be home soon. We have hope and we have faith in our judiciary if not our government,” Umar’s father SQ Iliyas said.