New Delhi: JNU students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested today in a sedition case over an event at the varsity’s campus against hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, sparking massive outrage among students and criticism from non-BJP parties which dubbed it as an “emergency-like” situation.
While Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Rajnath Singh advocated strong action against those who were involved in the alleged “anti-India” act, the students continued with their protests on the campus for the third day today, saying they are being “witch-hunted”. The students said their parents are asking them to quit the university in view of the “vitiating atmosphere” at Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU).
The arrest of Kanhaiya, a day after police filed a sedition and criminal conspiracy case on complaints from BJP MP Maheish Girri and ABVP members, was later remanded in three-day police custody by a local court.
After the arrest, the varsity students and teachers protested outside the Vice Chancellor’s office demanding the administration’s intervention into the manner in which students are being compared to “terrorists” and picked up from campus by policemen in plain clothes.
Equating the events with an “emergency-like situation”, CPI-M Sitaram Yechury said, “The question is that do you know who raised the slogans? Take action according to law against them. When you don’t know then how are you arresting all the student leaders?
“…Male police are going and raiding girls’ hostels.
Only during the emergency we saw this happen. That is the sort of Emergency State they are reducing our country to again.
This time it is the BJP,” he said.
Questioning the filing of sedition case, Congress leader Kapil Sibal asserted that it was a very serious charge and the BJP government should think before taking action under it.
On its part, the JNU administration said the university holds the right to free debate but condemns its use as a platform for activities that violate the Constitution and the laws of the land.
“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.