Rahul, Left leaders back JNU students' protest

Kejri orders probe as allegations of ABVP role emerge

Rahul, Left leaders back JNU students' protest

The protest against the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition turned into a political battle on Saturday.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the campus in the evening along with some party colleagues, including Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, charged the already tense atmosphere in the campus.

Rahul was welcomed by some “members and supporters” of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) with black flags. 

Left party leaders, including CPM general-secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja, were also present which triggered counter protests by ABVP members.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chose to highlight allegations that ABVP was behind the anti-India slogans against hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The chief minister has ordered a magisterial enquiry.

Earlier, seven students were taken into preventive custody. They were taken to Parliament Street police station and were released later in the evening.

Though the protest, held outside Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, was thwarted, there were other protests during the day on the university campus.After Kumar’s arrest, students and some teachers have been holding protests demanding to know why students are being treated like “terrorists” and were being arrested from the campus.
Upset by the arrest and heavy police presence on the campus, the professors have also expressed concern over the “threat to democratic ethos”.

“JNU has always been a university where there has been a vibrant culture. Excessive police action is uncalled for and has worsened the situation,” the professors said in a statement.

The police, too, wrote a letter to vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar asking the University to produce five students who were involved in “anti-national” activities and told the varsity authorities to alert them if such activities take place in future.

Some former Army officers have also threatened to return their JNU degrees saying that they find it difficult to be associated with a university which has become a hub of anti-national activities. 

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