JNU campus bristles at police action

Congress, Left oppose arrest; Union Minister says students crossed the limit

February 13, 2016 12:04 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:01 pm IST - New Delhi:

The Congress on Friday struck a note of caution after Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on a sedition charge over anti-India slogans being raised during an Afzal Guru anniversary event on the campus.

Party leader Manish Tewari said that while freedom of expression would not cover the voicing of “subversive sentiments detrimental to India’s sovereignty”, “the incident should not be used as an excuse or as a trigger to shut JNU down which is the intrinsic and deep desire of the rightwing bigots.”

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge) Nirmala Sitharaman, an alumna of JNU, said limits had been crossed in this case and the law would take its own course. She, however, added that she was proud of the university’s culture of debate.

The Left organisations on campus accused the BJP and RSS of a witch-hunt, as the university had been associated with criticism of their politics.

While the JNU administration has instituted an enquiry — taking a dim view of the students going ahead with the Afzal Guru programme despite being denied permission — faculty members at the university have opposed the crackdown.

They have also pointed out that the JNUSU president is from the All-India Students Federation, the student wing of the CPI that has nothing to do with “anti-India” activity.

On Thursday, the Delhi Police had registered a case of sedition against “unknown persons” in connection with the event.

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