JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, out on bail in a sedition case, today led a march of students and launched a blistering attack on HRD Minister Smriti Irani, demanding her resignation for “targeting” academic institutions.
“She calls us her children, but has she ever spoken to my mother or Rohith Vemula’s mother. I refused to be called her child. We demand that she resign for the way academic institutions are being attacked,” Kanhaiya said addressing the protestors at near Jantar Mantar.
The JNU students were marching from Mandi House to Parliament demanding release of PhD scholars Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, currently in judicial custody on sedition charges. The protesters were stopped near Jantar Mantar by police.
“Smriti Irani says she is the mother of school children. Okay Mata ji, did you call the mother of Rohith Vemula or my mother and say, ‘Your sons may have done something, but I am standing with you.’
“With me, my mother has also been made a traitor. Rohith Vemula’s mother has also been made a traitor. You shed tears. Your cry is fake, your laughter is fake, your speech is false,” Kanhaiya said.
The JNUSU president also demanded release of fellowships of JNU research scholars.
“A minister said if you are a student then study. We want to study. You’re a minister, release our fellowships, give us jobs. None of us is interested in coming to Jantar Mantar or going to jail or committing suicide. You have driven us to suicide,” he said.
He also attacked RSS and said the students are protesting against the outfit.
“It is being said traitors are living in JNU. Modiji we are not traitors. We are fighting against RSS. (Wo kehte hain JNU mein deshdrohi rehte hain, hum kehna chahte hain Modiji hum deshdrohi nahi, RSS ke khilaf droh kar rahe hain”.
Four attempts were made by different persons during the speech to attack Kanhaiya which were foiled by students and police, which detained four people.
The student leader also said he was not interested in joining politics and that he was a ‘man of movement’.
“I won’t join any political party. I am a man of movement and I will continue to fight in movements,” he said.
Kanhaiya said RSS cannot protect Indian culture as it
hardly knew anything about it.
“What is happening in JNU, at AMU, at Allahabad is an attack on democracy and we won’t tolerate it”.
After the attempt to attack him, Kanhaiya said,”People try to hit me when I talk about the nation. It is time the country understood the difference between deshbhakti and Modi bhakti”.
“They try to attack us again and again because we are not afraid of them. What happened in Gujarat, we won’t let that happen in UP.”
Kanhaiya said the march was for protecting democracy and ensuring social justice.
“This march is not to save one Umar or Kanhaiya, it is for democracy and social justice. When dictatorship comes to a country, educational institutions are affected first. If you talk in favour of JNU and education, you are talking about making sense.
“There are some people who want to spread anarchy. But don’t be afraid of them. You have to tell them that you cannot do all this. We will not tolerate any attack like this,” Kanhaiya said.
The student leader who was granted bail on March 3 by the Delhi High Court, said, “We are not anti-national. We are anti RSS. We do not agree with your nationalism. Women should get out of their homes. We cannot do politics with regard to Army. People who work on footpath are the biggest risk takers”.
He said the Prime Minister calls himself a tea seller’s son “but what is he doing for the poor?
“People who take years to get out of half pant and put on a full pant can only divide the country like this. Everyone is a part of India. Be it minorities, dalits.
“Everybody is attacking JNU saying it runs on tax-payers’ money but about Vijay Mallya, who also used tax-payer’s money and fled to London. What did they (govt) do about it,” he said.
CPI’s D Raja and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury were also present at the march and expressed solidarity with the agitating students.
Author-activist Arundhati Roy also addressed the gathering saying, “We are looking at revolutionary politics. We are at the beginning of a battle between those who know how to play and those who don’t. People who are called anti- national are nature lovers. People who call themselves national are the ones ruining things”.
Umar Khalid’s family was also present during the march.