Thousands of protesters have marched through the centre of the New Delhi on Thursday, to protest against the arrest of a student leader charged with sedition, Kanhaiya Kumar, be released.
Kanhaiya was arrested last week in connection with an event at the university in which anti-national slogans and those in favour of terrorist Afzal Guru were allegedly raised.
The controversy has led to huge students protests both at the university as well as in several cities across the country. The students and faculty members from other universities marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar by shouting slogans, holding placards, flowers and banners with the image of Kanhaiya Kumar. The marchers were estimated about 10,000.
The students played drums, sang songs and carried placards saying “Defend Free Speech, Defend Democracy” and “Just because I don’t agree, doesn’t mean I am an anti-national.” Many wore T-shirts saying “My Friend, Kanhaiya.”
Rahil Parween, a JNU student and activist, said.”We want our leader to be absolved of all the charges and declared innocent. We do not want the government to just give him bail.”
Gopinath Ravindran, a professor at Jamia Millia University. “I am here to defend democracy and resist the fascist forces that have been attacking our freedom of expression.”
The case has prompted a major debate that on Wednesday, Kanhaiya Kumar and several journalists were reportedly beaten up by some lawyers inside the Patiala House court complex.
Eminent scholars and intellectuals from around the world, have issued a statement of “heartfelt solidarity” with the JNU students and faculty on Tuesday.
The statement said. “We not only condemn the culture of authoritarian menace that the present government in India has generated, but urge all those genuinely concerned about the future of India and Indian universities to protest in wide mobilization against it.”