New Delhi :’Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki’ slogans were heard late night at Jawahar lal Nehru University (JNU) campus by students who welcomed the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar after spending days in Tihar jail.
Addressing the students, Kanhaiya said, “We don’t want ‘azadi’ from India, we want ‘azadi’ in India. The struggle is long. The more you try to suppress us, the higher we will rise.”
Returning to JNU campus on his release from jail three weeks after his arrest, the university’s students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar tonight said they are seeking freedom within the country and not from India, as he hurled barbs at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing students at the campus, 29-year-old Kumar, who has been slapped with sedition charge for allegedly raising anti-national slogans, said he had many differences with the prime minister but he agreed with his tweet “Satyameva Jayate” which he had posted in praise of HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s fiery speech in Lok Sabha on the JNU row as it is in the Constitution.
“I have many differences with the PM but I agree with his tweet Satyameva Jayate because these words are in our Constitution,” he said, as his passionate speech was punctuated by repeated cheers and raising of slogans.
“We are not seeking ‘azaadi’(freedom) from India. We want ‘azaadi’ within India,” he said.
Thanking all who stood by him while he was in Tihar jail here, Kumar said he believed in the Constitution and Judiciary of India.
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,” he said.
“We truly believe in democracy and Constitution. We don’t look at the ABVP as an enemy, we look at them like the Opposition,” he said.
“Let me just say it is not easy to get admission in JNU neither it is easy to silence those in JNU,” he added. Kumar said his arrest is 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.
Kumar said the struggle of peace loving and progressive sections of the society in the wake of the JNU row and Rohith Vemula suicide will be a long fight.
“Is seeking freedom from thorny issues confronting India a crime?,” he asked.
He also took a dig at Modi on his 2014 pre-poll promise to deposit Rs 15 lakh in everyone’s bank account from the black money which will be brought back by his government if he comes to power.
The Student leader walked out of Tihar jail to a rapturous welcome today, three weeks after his arrest on sedition charges that unleashed widespread outrage with a combined opposition mounting a spirited attack on government accusing it of crushing dissent.
29-year-old Kumar’s release in the evening came even as a Delhi Government-appointed magisterial probe did not find any evidence of him raising anti-India slogans at a flashpoint event at JNU campus on February 9.
The report said “nothing adverse” could be found against Kumar and that no witness or video was available to support allegations against the JNU students union president.
Kumar, a PhD student at the prestigious university, was released from the prison at 6:30 PM and accorded a spirited welcome by a group of students and teachers on being handed over to them.
Jubilations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) campus which erupted after Kumar was granted bail yesterday by the Delhi High Court acquired a new momentum with the students, agitating since his arrest, taking out a march shouting slogans like “Jai Kanhaiya Lal ki”.
After his release, Kumar maintained that he never raised any anti-India slogans, asserting truth will prevail.
Kumar was arrested on February 12 in connection with the event to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on his third death anniversary during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Kumar was granted interim bail for six months by the Delhi High Court yesterday on condition that he will cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
Earlier in the day, a city court issued Kumar’s release order after he furnished a bail bond. Jail officials said the papers for the release of the JNU student leader were received at around 5 pm and he was released about one-and-a-half-hours later.
Five other students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Anant Prakash and Anirban Bhattacharya were also named by the police in the case.
Umar and Anirban had surrendered before police on the night of February 24 and they were subsequently arrested in connection with the sedition charge. Police had also questioned twice Ashutosh Kumar, another JNU student.
Kumar’s arrest was seen as an attack on the university by its teachers, students and alumni who were supported by students from across the country as well as international scholars including Noam Chomski and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk among others.
Almost all the Opposition parties had come down hard on the BJP-led NDA government accusing it of muffling free speech and trying to impose RSS-backed ideology. His arrest had also triggered a debate on nationalism.