New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday said sedition charge was being used against those raising different issues in the country.
“Sedition is being used against those who are raising (public) issues. I never uttered any anti-national slogans. Nationalism is not silence over discrimination and injustice,” Kanhaiya told English news channel ‘India Today’ in an interview.
“We want freedom, not from India, but within India – from poverty, inequality and exploitation,” he said when asked about his definition of freedom.
“Afzal and Maqbool Bhat are not our heroes, but Rohith Vemula is. We want (Babasaheb Bhimrao) Ambedkar and Vemula to be born in every house,” Kanhaiya said.
Earlier, he told media persons here that Hyderabad University research scholar Rohith Vemula was his icon and not parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Guru was executed in the Tihar central jail here on February 9, 2013, for his role in the December 2001 parliament attack. Maqbool Bhat, co-founder of separatist group Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, was hanged on February 11, 1984, in Tihar jail.
Arrested on February 12 on sedition charge, the JNU student leader was released from the Tihar jail on Thursday evening after Delhi High Court granted him interim bail for six months.
“We are not fighting against the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). We are fighting for development (of the country). We need equality between the rich and the poor,” he said when asked about his incessant verbal attacks against the right-wing organisation.
Kanhaiya said “he can feel the change occurring in society and politics at large”.
“There is a team of lawyers fighting for us. People from all over the world are supporting us; it is a reality,” he said in reply to a question.
Responding to another query, he said (Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash) Karat and (Sitaram) Yechury were not the only Jawaharlal Nehru University students in Indian politics.
“(Union Commerce and Industry Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman is also from the JNU,” he said while recounting the names of other JNU alumni active in politics.