JNU row: Congress VP meets protesting students; ABVP raises black flags, shout "Rahul Gandhi Go Back"
Black flags were shown to Rahul Gandhi at his convoy entered the Jawahalal Nehru University (JNU) on Saturday.
New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was on Saturday shown black flags during his visit on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus to meet students protesting for the release of Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
The protestors, allegedly belonging to ABVP, raised slogan of "Rahul Gandhi go back" in the varsity.
Besides Rahul, several leaders of the Congress and the Left parties, including deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, CPI politburo member Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, also gathered on the JNU campus.
While addressing the protesting students, Rahul Gandhi indirectly hit out at the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
"The most anti-national people are the people who are suppressing the voice of this institution," he said.
Further recalling dalit scholar Rohit Vemula's suicide case, the Congress VP said, "I was in Hyderabad a few days back and these same people or their leaders said that Rohith Vemula was an anti-national."
"A youngster expressed himself and the government says he is an anti-national," Rahul added.
He added: "You must question them at every single step. Question yourselves also. Look inside yourselves & question yourselves. Later, a Minister turns around and says he was not even a Dalit. Sushma Swarajji nobody asked whether he was Dalit or not, question is why wasn't Indian students allowed to say & fight for what he believes."
He further said, "While Anti-India sentiment is unquestionably unacceptable, the right to dissent & debate is an essential ingredient of democracy. Modi Govt & ABVP bullying an institution like JNU simply because it won't toe their line is completely condemnable."
Rahul also asked the ABVP activists, who showed black flags to him, to join Indian National Congress.
I would like to invite the protesting students here to come & join our group: Rahul Gandhi to ABVP students who were raising slogans at JNU
— INC India (@INCIndia) February 13, 2016
"People who showed black flag on my face, I feel proud that in my country they have the right to show black flag in front of my face," he added.
Further hitting the Modi governmnet, Rahul said, "What is anti-national? Most anti-national people are those suppressing the voice of students in JNU."
Finally assuring students of people's support, Rahul said, "I came here to tell you, there are more than billion people in country who believe what you believe in & standing right behind you. When we fought the British, we fought them for our land and we fought them for our voice."
Scores of students have been demanding the release of Kumar, who was sent to a three-day police custody yesterday.
Gandhi had yesterday said that the Modi government is "bullying" an institution like the Jawaharlal Nehru University and it is "completely condemnable".
The Congress VP at the same time asserted that anti-India sentiment was "unquestionably unacceptable".
His remarks came after the arrest of JNU students' union president Kumar in a sedition case over a protest event at the campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, which sparked massive outrage among students.
The development comes even as Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, earlier in the day, reiterated that action will be taken as per law and called on the Opposition to openly condemn the `anti-national` activities at the varsity.
"Whatever incident had happened in JNU related to the anti-national activity and slogans` being carried out by some students is very unfortunate. Freedom of expression cannot be absolute and unqualified. There has to be a reasonable restriction," Rijiju said.
Amid the raging JNU row, Home Minister Rajnath Singh also asserted today that no innocent will be harassed but the guilty "will not be spared" as Left leaders met him questioning the police action against students including arrest of JNUSU leader.
Jawaharlal Nehru University students on Tuesday had organised a meet on the campus to mourn the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) co-founder Maqbool Bhat, where alleged anti-India slogans were raised.
Another commemorative meeting was held at the Press Club of India in Delhi on Wednesday where too, anti-India slogans were raised and placards were shown.
Watch the video here (Courtesy-ANI):
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 13, 2016