Here’s taking a look at what the outrage at JNU all about
JNU is ranked among the top Universities in the country. The University has always had the perception of being home ground of the left-liberal activists clad in jeans and khadi kurtas indulging in protests, rallies and marches;until February 9th, when a group of students organized a gathering called ‘A country without a post office—against the judicial killings of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt’. Though the posters claimed it to be an evening organized to mourn andexpress feelings of solidarity for the Kashmiri migrants through poetry, art and music; but what conspired there was for all to witness.
Soon a purported video of the event where students are heard shouting anti-India slogans like “Kashmir ki azadi tak bharat ki barbadi tak jung rahegi” and “Tum kitne Afzal maroge,har ghar se Afzal niklega”, went viral in social media andthe nation was left fuming over how a motley group of students who very much belong to the Indian soil, and have the luxury of their education supported by Indian tax payer’s money can have such ill will against their own country?
Taking the responsibility of teaching ‘anti-nationals’ a fitting lesson, the student wing of ABVP took the matters into their hand and post few protests and complaints a scuffled ensued that led to arrests, charges of sedition and of course further protest against the key organizers of this rally. While Kanhaiya Kumar, JNU’s Student Union President, faces charges in the court, his co-conspirator and 9 other accused have been on the large since.
Here’s taking a look at the series of incidents that led to Kanhaiya’s arrest and where the debate that looks like a see-saw trying to balance itself between patriotic nationalism and the freedom of expression is headed:
- Post the video of Kanhaiya and other students on the JNU campus goes viral on social media, Home Minister, Rajnath Singh spoke with Delhi Police Commissioner, B.S. Bassi and released a statement: “If anyone raises anti-India slogans, tries to raise questions on the country’s unity and integrity, they will not be spared.”
- Student President Kanhaiya Kumar arrested and sent to three day police custody.
- Students on the JNU campus protest and a call for a shut down in the campus till their leader is released.
- Teachers join the students too,in boycotting classes and instead insist take classes on nationalism in the varsity lawns
- Meanwhile a fake Twitter handle of Rajnath Singh surfaces where he alleges that the protesting students had the backing of Pakistani Terror Group Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s (JUD) chief Hafiz Sayeed
- While the nation is still debating over the rights and the wrongs of the protest by the students and the incidents which followed; a mob of lawyers are reported to attack the supporters of Kanhaiya Kumar in the premises of Patila Court where he was brought in matters relating to the case against him
- Supporters who were attacked and a few journalists who got caught in between cried foul against the lawyers
- BJP MLA, O.P. Sharma gets embroiled in the controversy and is seen on camera thrashing up a CPI+ worker outside the court’s gate number 4
- Congress President, Rahul Gandhi, visit the campus and criticizes the accuses BJP government, accuses it of bullying the prestigious institute and of suppressing the student’s right of expression
- In a shocking sequel to the thrashing of supporters by the lawyers outside the court, this time Kanhaiya Kumar is beaten, abuses are hurled at him while the Delhi Police stands as a mere spectator and a helpless witness to the incident
- Citing ideological differences as the cause, three of ABVP resign from the position in JNU. In a joint statement issued by them, they have disassociated themselves from any activity led by ABVP in the wake of the controversy and has agreed to play no more the mouthpiece of a government that has unleashed oppression on student community
Things to ponder:
While mourning over terrorists and speaking in support of them is a very distasteful act and incidents of inciting separatist feelings must be met with strict action but we also have to concern ourselves with how people are reacting to it. Does shouting couple of slogans lead to seditious behavior?
Everyone has such strong opinions on what really transpired that day and have had the audacity to question the extent to which freedom of expression can be exercised and what are the correct and incorrect ways of expressing one’s self in a public forum. But sadly all these points have been raised by people who were not even present there at the time the whole event was unfolding.True, none of them have bothered to reach out to the students of JNU who were the real witness and present on campus when the event was organized. People have gone to the extent of saying that slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ were branded on paper plates on which students were being served beeftikkas. Like really! Next is what, students were being issued Pakistani Passports?
It is not the first time that people have raised an objection against the capital punishment and the judgment of the court against Afzal Guru. After he was hanged, a lot of human rights groups and many well-known faces like Shashi Tharoor, Arundhati Roy, Markandey Katju and noted journalist Praveen Swami condemned his hanging. The political party PDP with whom BJP has formed a government in Jammu and Kashmir itself called Afzal’s hanging ‘travesty of justice’. So does the action of these well noted personalities be also dubbed seditious? Why is it that no action was taken against them when they were vehemently speaking against the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court?
No there is no way that the people who support anti-national activities should be spared! There is no need to entertain comments or actions that lead to disruption of harmony and inciting of anti-peace feelings among people. But do we have to add political flavour to every controversy that takes place in the country? Why can’t for once the whole nation stand together and not divided on a topic as sensitive as this and find a feasible solution to the problem? It serves no purpose to make mockery of the law and order in the country and give anti-nationals a window to take advantage of the situation and add fuel to the fire. We have to remain at peace and listen to every voice. Not necessarily every voice that rises against our ideals and feelings of idealism is anti-national! A university is a place for debate, discussion and dissent. Slogans should be answered with slogans and not charges of sedition and national outrage.