Delhi: Violence broke out in the Patiala House court complex when groups of lawyers on Monday thrashed journalists and students and teachers of JNU while the political slugfest over the arrest of the university's student leader snowballed with BJP chief Amit Shah targeting Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on the issue.
The Congress hit back at Shah, saying those once "externed by the Supreme Court over criminal charges" should not teach patriotism to the party, which has played a "stellar role" in freedom movement.
Rahul himself attacked the BJP and RSS, saying they do not have respect for diversity of the nation's culture and wanted to control everyone's views.
In a significant turn in the probe, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said police have so far found "no evidence linking the LeT" to the controversial event at the JNU to mark protest against hanging of Afzal Guru that triggered the crisis.
The Delhi Police a few days ago had pinned a purported tweet of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed in an alert over Twitter asking students not to get carried away by anti-India rhetoric.
Yesterday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had claimed that the JNU event had the backing of Saeed that set off a storm of protests from the Opposition.
He justified the arrest of Kumar, claiming that he had raised anti-national slogans during the event.
On the ground, the JNU students today boycotted classes while teachers decided to follow suit from tomorrow.
The university also sent a status report to the HRD Ministry, saying eight students identified by them as shouting slogans at the event.
But it is not clear from the the registrar's report whether Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNUSU President, who has been slapped with sedition charge, was among those who allegedly shouted anti-India slogans.
Amidst the above developments, following is what Shehla Rashid, VP, JNUSU wrote on Facebook:
JNUSU strongly condemns the irrational statements made by the Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, drawing imaginary links between students and terrorist organisations. JNU does not need the support of Hafeez Saeed of LeT, because the university has the support of the toiling masses of the country, because this is one place where students can study without discrimination and without having to worry about high fees. The Home Minister should stop making a joke out of himself by relying on fake Twitter accounts to whip up communal frenzy. In order to hide the Modi government’s own inefficiency in dealing with terror attacks like Pathankot, which had exposed their complacency in terror attacks, the Home Minister is now looking for non-existent links between innocent students and terrorist organizations.
The branding of JNU as anti-national has nothing to do with any kind of slogans whatsoever. When the Occupy UGC movement was at its peak, the RSS mouthpiece, Panchjanya had already called JNU anti-national. There were no slogans back then. The branding of JNU as anti-national has to do with the democratic movements that we have led.
Voluntary boycott of classes by students and teachers.
Today, on the 15th of February 2016, students voluntarily boycotted classes against the arrest of the JNUSU President, Kanhaiya Kumar, the charges of sedition on other student leaders, and the debarring of the other 8 student leaders without any prior enquiry. The students gathered at Administration Block against this political targeting of students where several teachers, former Student Union leaders, activists and artists addressed the students and expressed solidarity with them. Among those who addressed the meeting are Former JNUSU leaders, Prakash Karat, Kavita Krishnan, Albeena Shakeel, Sucheta De, Lenin Kumar. Among the teachers who addressed the gathering later in the day were Prof. Nivedita Menon, Prof Susan Viswanathan, Prof. Ayesha Kidwai and JNUTA President, Prof. Ajay Patnaik, Prof. Ania Loomba, Prof. Suvir Kaul.
The JNU administration has constituted a “high-level enquiry committee” to investigate the incidents that took place on 9th of February, 2016. However, the JNU Students’ Union has severe apprehensions about the neutrality of this committee. The committee even before following due process, has debarred the 8 students from all academic activity. When the case is already prejudged, how can the committee conduct any fair investigation? JNUSU is of the opinion that the committee is not interested in investigating the issue, but in demonizing credible student leaders of the campus. The JNU Students’ Union submitted a memorandum today, signed by over 2000 students, who were present outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office, demanding the administration to take back the debarring of the 8 students.
The memorandum also raised concerns about the constitution of the committee, which consists of former members of ABVP and the anti-reservationist YFE. The memorandum mentioned that the committee does not consist of any members from marginalized communities, even though most of the students who are facing enquiry belong to the marginalized sections of the society. A delegation, consisting of the JNUSU Vice-President and several Councilors of the JNU Students’ Union, met the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of JNU with these concerns and submitted the signatures to them, but they expressed deep dissatisfaction with an adamant and high-handed attitude.
On Tuesday, 16th of February, 2016, the University will again observe a total strike against the high-handedness of the administration and state-administration-ABVP nexus.
Today, the JNUSU President was supposed to be presented in Patiala House Court, but he was not allowed to meet the students and teachers who had gone there to witness the court proceedings. His remand, however, has been extended for two more days. The students and teachers who had gone to witness the court proceedings were hounded, attacked and molested by RSS-affiliated lawyers. JNUSU condemns the unprovoked and unjustified attack on JNU Students and Teachers in the strongest possible words and condemns the role of the Delhi Police in whose presence these attacks took place. The RSS is trying to manufacture a mob-frenzy against JNU and we will not tolerate this. In order to counter this psychosis of fear and mob frenzy, JNUSU calls upon all democratic organizations, teachers, workers and alumni of JNU, concerned individuals and organizations outside JNU to join a march on Thursday, 18th of February, 2016 from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar from 2:30 p.m. We request everyone to ensure maximum mobilization in this march. People who are sympathetic towards JNU and aware of its democratic traditions are requested to rise up and speak up in favour of the institute. This is a march to Save JNU from the malicious designs of the RSS.
We strongly believe that this is a ploy to demolish ongoing movements, such as Occupy UGC and Justice for Rohith Vemula. JNUSU calls upon students across the country to make successful the pre-scheduled calls – the All India University Strike on the 18th of February, as part of Occupy UGC and the All India Parliament March on 23rd of February, to demand justice for Rohith Vemula. We need to take the struggle for fellowships and for social justice on the same platform – for which our leaders have been punished – together with the demand for ending the persecution of JNU student leaders.
The ABVP has been discredited and yesterday’s human chain saw successful participation of all sections of the JNU Community. Now we have to take this march outside the campus and counter the criminal designs of the RSS who subject JNU students to discrimination and mob frenzy. The state is unethically using its criminal might to turn absolutely peace-loving, innocent students into criminals, while the felons and criminals rule the roost. There is no action against the ABVP members who have engaged in physical violence on campus, twice since the 9th of February- on the 9th of February, when they attacked the procession following the programme, and on the 13th of February, when they attacked the Rajya Sabha MP, Anand Sharma. Why is there no action against ABVP members?
JNUSU will carry forward this struggle till the political witch-hunt of JNU students is put to an end.