Srinagar: The Kashmiri students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Friday apprehend police persecution after the JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and booked for sedition in connection with an event organised on the death anniversary of Afzal Guru on Thursday.
The students said they are living under a “reign of terror” and the police are targeting them deliberately.
“Since morning (Friday) our rooms have been searched by policemen in civvies. We have learnt that the police have made a list of 25 students who participated in the event but we don’t know who these students are,” a Kashmiri student told Kashmir Reader over phone.
“The BJP, ABVP and Delhi police together are creating a reign of terror. And after the arrest of the JNUSU president we are very apprehensive,” the student said.
Another Kashmiri girl student said that she is not worried about herself but fears her family in Srinagar might be targetted.
Meanwhile, JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora, who is a Kashmiri, said, “The police have patrolled the campus many times. The students are being witch-hunted and demonised. Why are all JNU students being labeled as ‘anti-national’?”
“Why is the administration not protecting students against this selective targeting by ABVP? Why police have been given such a free hand to rashly pick up students from the campus? Why no protocols are being followed?” a member of the All India Students Association (AISA) was quoted as saying by a Delhi based news agency.
Agitated over Kanhaiya’s arrest on Friday afternoon, the students also gathered outside the vice-chancellor’s office and demanded his intervention in the issue.
The Delhi police had, on Thursday, registered a case against “unknown persons” under Section of 124 A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC at Vasant Kunj (North) Police station following complaints by BJP MP Mahesh Girri and ABVP.
According to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Section 124A is described as: “Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.”
However, the most controversial conviction for sedition in recent years has been of human rights defender Binayak Sen, while activist-author Arundhati Roy is facing prosecution for her radical views on Kashmir. The police have also slapped sedition charges on Koodankulam nuclear plant protesters.
Most of the cases fly in the face of the condition on which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the sedition provision in 1962 in the Kedar Nath Singh vs Bihar case. The condition that has been lost sight of is that the sedition law must be invoked only against those found to be inciting violence or armed rebellion.
The protests by JNU students are an eye-opener for India as it proves that freedom of nations cannot be suppressed for long. The way the justice-loving people of India and its intellectual class are raising voice in favour of the oppressed Kashmiris and are supporting our stand makes it clear that the political freedom of nations cannot be suppressed for long. Such protests are a good omen for our freedom movement. Time has come for India to acknowledge the reality.
Syed Ali Geelani
The arrest of JNU students’ leader Kanhaiya Kumar and sedition charges against others has no justification in India’s own constitution or legal system. The students of JNU held a peaceful protest demonstration to express their solidarity with the Kashmiri nation and it is not any crime. Many prominent leaders and human rights activists of India had raised questions over the secret hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru and had termed it a ‘judicial murder’. Such an action (arrest of Kumar) will have serious consequences and the onus of such consequences will be on the Indian government.
Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M)
What is happening in JNU? Police on campus, arrests and picking up students from hostels. This last happened during Emergency.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
The arrest is undemocratic and a reflection of the negative policies of the people who claim to be the saviors of the freedom of speech. The police reaction is uncalled for. The organisers were in no way involved in any illegal activity.
Shehla Rashid Shora
Police are doing rounds of the campus and mindlessly witch-hunting activists. They want to witch-hunt and target us, like they targeted Rohith Vemula. They want us to hang ourselves like Rohith did. But we want to remind them, every dead Rohith will further intensify the students’ movement and people’s unity. The students’ union was not responsible for organizing the anti-India protests. We stopped these slogans that called for India’s division and destruction beecause we don’t believe in politics of division.
—As told to india.com
The nation can never tolerate an insult to Mother India. I only want to say that today is the day of worship of Goddess Saraswati. Saraswati blesses every family that whatever they speak is for progress and strengthening the nation. Let Mother India be praised. The nation will never tolerate an insult to mother India. Anyone who raises anti-India slogans or tries to put a question mark on nation’s unity and integrity will not be spared.