By UBAID JEELANI
Srinagar: Research scholars and students of Kashmir University on Tuesday held a peaceful protest to exhibit solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students facing sedition charges for raising a voice in favour of Kashmiris right to self determination.
The students and scholars initiated a signature campaign to support former Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani, JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar who have been arrested on sedition charges and a group of JNU students who have been put on lookout by Delhi Police.
The protest was organized two days after a group of scholars anonymously issued a statement to express their resentment on treatment meted out to JNU students for expressing their thoughts on Kashmir issue and “judicial killing of Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru”.
The scholars who participated in the “Solidarity with JNU” protest were holding banners and placards with messages favoring SAR Geelani and beleaguered JNU Students.
The academic activities in Kashmir University are limited due to winter vacations even as the University is preparing to hold entrance tests for the fresh admissions during this week.
The protesting scholars demanded immediate and unconditional release of Kanhaiya Kumar and SAR Geelani besides revocation of sedition charges against them.
Speaking on the occasion Ashfaq Ahmad, a scholar pursuing his doctorate condemned the “atrocities” unleashed on JNU students, scholars and faculty. He said the fascist elements were hell-bent upon curtailing the freedom of thought and expression.
“For the past sometime we are seeing that the BJP is running a shrill campaign branding all voices of dissent as anti-national”, Ahmad said adding the BJP is out to stifle any and all voices that challenge their brand of politics.
The scholars in one voice extended their support to all Kashmiri students pursuing studies in various Universities and educational institutions outside the valley, especially in New Delhi.
“We are in support for those Kashmiri students who are also becoming victims of this fascist politics,” Ahmad said.
The scholars decried political parties’ attempts to target students for their political and economic gains. The scholars also highlighted issues confronting the student communities across India including suicide of Rohit Vemula and its implications, suspension and witch-hunt of JNU students and attack on journalists, teachers and students at Patiala House Court in Delhi.
Suhail, another scholar who refused to give his full name said that a university must be allowed to give space to all sections of opinion and encourage debates and discussions.
“The way the present government has acted against students to suppress dissent voice requires strong resentment. This is the reason for our protest”, he said.
A group of students also raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.