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Government is choking voices of students?

The Patiala House court reserved its order on the bail plea of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who are in judicial custody in a sedition case. There are many reasons for their detentions: 1). To save the face of the government and 2). To create deterrence among students who are rebellious. Already, Kanhaiya Kumar has become a trouble for PM Narendra Modi and his entire party. He single handedly has the ability to challenge entire party and make them answerable. Not only had that but Kanhaiya exposed the lies spread by BJP supporters online. Actually, he has given tough time to the BJP. In such circumstances, if other arrested students get bail, BJP will not be able to afford the pressure ahead of UP elections. The court has reserved its order on the bail plea till March 18. At least, I can say that this is a face saving report. The panel couldn’t directly implicate their students who were involved. If they do so then they have to reveal the names of the faculty those who supported them within the campus. BJP know that, this event was orchestrated by ABVP and RSS, to take control on JNU. They miserably flopped, and are clueless now to get rid of such awkward situation.

The students in the university are to study, they should concentrate in their studies and government should not interfere in their matters. They are in universities to make a difference in the society; government should give them that freedom. They should be punished if they break the law of the land but should not be falsely implicated. If the report is true, outsiders were at the event, anti-national slogans were raised, but there is no conclusive evidence that the left student leaders were involved in it. However, here what is disturbing, all those JNU students who are torchbearers of a new India with equitable justice saw provocation in such anti national sloganeering, they are requesting authorities to trace those elements and punish them but our system is clutching the selective targets.

Anyway, the show cause notice is being served to students and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is divided on that. While some of these students have refused to respond to the notice, a section of teachers are apprehensive about the implications of the committee Deans of five schools have also raised objection with Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar about why the Deans’ Committee wasn’t informed before initiating disciplinary action against the students. The deans have sought to know from the V-C who all are being charged, what the charges are, and what the recommended punishment in each case is. The notice was served to Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, JNU students’ union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and JNUSU joint secretary Saurabh Sharma. By not clearly describing the nature of the offence, the varsity has once again created ambiguity on the issue. Any other act which may be considered by the V-C or any other competent authority to be an act of violation of discipline and conduct, the university said in its show cause notice to Kanhaiya Kumar.

Meanwhile, the high-level probe panel of JNU has found two students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – who are in judicial custody in a sedition case, guilty of arousing communal, caste or regional sentiments and creating disharmony among students. JNUSU joint secretary Saurabh Sharma has been found guilty of blocking traffic on the day of the programme. The show-cause notice issued to Anirban finds him guilty of “furnishing false certificates or false information in any manner to the university, arousing communal, caste or regional feeling or creating disharmony among students, causing or colluding in the unauthorised entry of any person into the campus or in the unauthorised occupation of any portion of the university premises, including hall of residences, by any person and same charges have been levied on Umar. Students who have received the notice are confused over the charges as the varsity has not explained the offence in details.

Meanwhile, the deans of five schools of JNU have contradicted the university’s claim that it had apprised them of the probe report on the Afzal Guru controversy. Deans said they had also not been given any details of the charges made against students or the degree of punishment. However, the university administration claimed that it had conveyed the summary of the probe panel report to the deans. The report was based on the information given by ABVP students that’s the reason; there is lots of mismatch in the report and incidence. Even the student who was not present on that day in JNU campus was mentioned as one of the student shouting slogans. The report came under scanner and students are ready to expose it. In a way, BJP has invited another awkward moment for them.

Meanwhile, there was protest organised by various student political parties demanding release of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. Interestingly, most of his speech was inclined towards taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and issues like Rohith Vemula’s suicide and the release of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya took a back seat. Nevertheless, they demanded bail to the students. The counsel of the students argued that criticism of government cannot be termed as sedition. Students had surrendered voluntarily and cited Delhi government’s report that said the video, which showed the students raising “anti-national” slogans, was doctored. When well-orchestrated game-plan boomeranged at BJP, now they are searching for new means to implicate students and chock their voice permanently.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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