Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) resigned, the journalist for Zee News resigned as they think that whatever happening to JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar is not right and he was arrested because of some conspiracy. They also feel that injustice has been done to him. We have seen hundreds of videos around, but can we see any of Kanhaiya’s speeches include those lines on which he can be declared anti-national? If not then why so much chaos is being created on his name?
There are many student’s groups and colleges that came forward in support of Kanhaiya Kumar. Students and teachers of several international universities, including those from University of California and Yale, are narrating his “seditious” speech in English and uploading their videos online. Students from more than 70 colleges, notably Yale University and the University of Missouri, spoke up for racial equality and an inclusive environment. In the US, the Million Student March protested rising student debt caused by soaring college costs. In the UK, tens of thousands of students protested the Tory government’s education spending cuts. Be it UK or Rohit Vemula or Anna andolan to heavy campaigning for Modi, its students who played the vital role and messing with this power is like playing with the fire. In Bangladesh, students at private colleges fought the government’s tax on tuition fees. In Spain, tens of thousands of students protested the redesign of their degree programmes.
Foreign students don’t know anything about JNU; they even don’t know who Kanhaiya is? However, they are still supporting him. Some people are saying JNU runs on the taxpayer’s money. Yes, it does. Nevertheless, I want to raise the question: what are universities for? Universities are critical analysis of the society’s collective conscience. Critical analysis should be promoted. “If universities fail in their duties then there would be no nation. If people are not part of a nation, it will turn into a grazing ground for the rich, for exploitation and looting,” Newbigin says in the video quoting from Kanhaiya’s speech. People across the globe are watching us carefully, they are keeping eye on each incidence that is occurring in India. We, Indians need to be much more sensible, as we are damaging our image on the global platform. Dora Zhang and Damon Young, University of California, Berkeley say in joint video, “We challenge the RSS’s definition of justice. We say your vision of justice has no place in it for our vision of justice. We will believe in freedom and justice on that day when every person is freely able to exercise constitutional rights. Asserting if Kanhaiya’s speech was seditious, then all those narrating it should also be penalised, Greta La Fleur from Yale University continues with her narration from the transcript of Kanhaiya’s speech. Over 400 academicians from international varsities, including Columbia, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge, have also come out in support of Jawaharlal Nehru University students agitating against a row over an event on the campus.
The BJP and the Narendra Modi government are in no mood to relent on the nationalism debate sparked in the wake of the Afzal Guru Commemoration row that erupted in JNU campus on February 9. The saffron party has planned a sustained offensive in Parliament from the Afzal Guru show in JNU. Sensing a groundswell of public support, it is keen to have an aggressive debate in which even the Prime Minister may intervene. BJP has decided to assume an aggressive approach both “within and without the Parliament” on the JNU row and the nationalism issue.
Also, the government feels the nationalism will put the Opposition in a dilemma. They may not want to be seen arguing against nationalism and for those who raised anti-India slogans. The party has made a video package to be shown to people. The package is made from the footage available of the February 9 incident on JNU campus as also of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s speech when he went visiting the varsity later. BJP has shifted its focus from Hindu-Muslim to nationalist and anti-national, but that has badly boomeranged. Meanwhile reservation agitation is gone beyond control. There is restlessness in the people of India. I never witnessed so much anger, hate and violence before.
Anyways, Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 12 in a sedition case in connection with an event against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. While the students and teachers supporting Kanhaiya, they have condemned raising of anti-national slogans. They claim the slogans were not raised by him and there was nothing seditious in his 26 minute speech rendered a day later. Let’s see how judiciary deals with the matter in future.
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