Patna/Vadodara: Protests against the arrest of JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charge spread to more states today and there were also counter-protests with police having to use mild force in Patna to defuse a clash.
Tamil folk-singer Kovan was among 57 people detained in Chennai during a protest march taken out against the arrest and attack of Kumar in Patiala House court in Delhi.
The protesters, who raised slogans against the Modi government, demanded Kumar’s release.
Posters in support of JNU students opposing the arrest of Kumar were also found at University of Baroda in Vadodara even as the escalating JNU row echoed in Kerala Assembly.
Amid chanting of ‘Vande Mataram’ slogans, members of ABVP, the student outfit of RSS, staged counter-protests in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata, demanding action against “anti-national” elements in Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU).
Student leaders of CPI’s student wing AISF and workers of RJD’s youth wing clashed with BJP workers outside the BJP office in Patna over arrest of Kumar, who hails from Bihar.
Patna City Superintendent of Police Chandan Kushwaha said a group of workers of AISF and the youth wing of Lalu Prasad’s party reached Bihar’s state BJP office to protest the arrest.
As BJP workers protested, a clash broke out in which stones and water bottles were hurled from both sides.
Police used mild force to separate the rival protesters, the City SP said.
Station House Officer of Kotwali police station Ramesh Kumar Singh said that the AISF and RJD workers arrived at the BJP office without any prior information.
The BJP which had given notice to take out a march from its office to Income Tax roundabout was not allowed by the police to go ahead and stopped at the party office itself.
The City SP said the situation has been brought under control and additional police force deployed at the spot to prevent further clashes.
“We had taken prior permission for taking out a march which was not permitted. The workers of AISF and RJD armed with lathis were allowed to come upto our party office and attack us without any prior notice,” BJP state Vice President Sanjay Mayukh said.
In Chennai, the protesters were part of cultural outfit Makkal Kalai Ilakiya Kazhagam, Revolutionary Students’ Youth Front (RSYS) and five other student organisations. They were also protesting against ABVP, the student wing of RSS.
They were picked up by the police within 15 minutes of the protest. They were protesting in front of Shastri Bhavan in Nungambakkam.
Kovan, who had already been arrested and slapped with a sedition case earlier for singing a song that allegedly insulted Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, reportedly sang a song against the Central government..
In Vadodara, police said posters in support of JNU students opposing the arrest of Kumar and suicide by Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad found in the wall of the canteen of Baroda University’s Fine Arts faculty of University of Baroda were later removed over fear of police action.
The intelligence wing of Vadodara police has launched a probe into the matter.
“Though the posters were removed from the canteen wall, we will continue to investigate into it,” City Police Commissioner E Radhakrishna said.
The arrest of Kumar and related developments had its echo in Kerala Assembly as CPI(M)-led LDF opposition raised the issues while seeking permission for an adjournment motion against the death of a party activist, allegedly after an attack by RSS functionaries.