Ruckus in DU over JNU controversy

Meet in support of arrested student

A student gathering opposing sedition charges against Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Wednesday invited ruckus on the Delhi University campus with ABVP supporters calling the bunch of protesters “anti-nationals”.

Police drove away the protesters after sloganeering intensified and opposing sides nearly came to blows outside the Arts Faculty. Earlier, the university authorities prevented students from putting up posters, saying the organisers did not seek permission before hosting the event. 

“Some slogans were outrageous, but any liberal society runs on the principle that those who shout outrageous slogans should not fear for their safety. If they are not safe, we are not safe,” Delhi University alumnus Abhishek Rai told the gathering. 

“The situation will not let us remain apolitical. It demands us to speak out,” he said to an applause from the gathering. Moments later a student from the crowd shouted from behind the police barricade: “He (Kanhaiya) was an accomplice”.

The JNUSU president was arrested last week for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on February 9 on the JNU campus in support of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

“Which DU is standing with which JNU,” said Ayush, a Law Faculty student, as ABVP supporters asked the organisers to lower the handheld banners and raised high-pitched slogans asking the “anti-nationals” to leave. “DU stands with JNU,” the banner said.  

Gaurav Jain, one of the organisers, said the protest is in solidarity with “fellow students at a University barely 20 km away”. 

“Mind you, by showing solidarity with JNU and the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, we are not endorsing anti-nationalism or siding with terrorism. We do condemn the anti-India slogans chanted at the JNU campus. However, Kanhaiya Kumar was not involved in either organising the event or chanting slogans. He himself has condemned the act,” their Facebook invite said. 

Earlier on Monday, former DUSU office bearers, which included BJP leaders like Satish Upadhyay and Vijender Gupta, submitted a memorandum to LG, urging him to “inquire into the incidents in the campus of JNU from 9th February till date and its adverse effect in other areas besides demanding arrest of the guilty persons and action against them”.

Delhi University Students Union reached out to JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and submitted another memorandum, asking him to free the varsity from the clutches of some “anti-national individuals and organisations”. 

“It’s shocking that those who have been elected by the students to fight for student issues are indulging in waging a war against the state by their actions,” their letter said.  

Meanwhile, while delivering a lecture in DU’s Ramjas College, historian Romila Thapar said there needs to be a relook at the sedition laws. The ABVP had earlier asked her to back off from the event.

Making a case against sedition law, the historian said that it was time certain laws were “reconsidered, rethought “ referring to sedition as one law that needs to be looked at since “India wasn’t a colony anymore”.

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