Students hold massive solidarity march, seek Kanhaiya’s release


New Delhi: Thousands of students from universities and colleges across Delhi staged a massive protest here on Thursday to condemn the arrest of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges.

The students, who gathered near Mandi House in the heart of Delhi, demanded the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, who was sent to judicial custody till March 2 by a court on Wednesday.

The students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Milia Islamia took part in the protest, shouting slogans like ‘Janwad pe hamla band karo’ (End attacks on democracy).

Delhi Police arrested Kanhaiya Kumar on February 12 for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at an event on the JNU campus. He has denied the charge.

Several teachers, lawyers, activists, theatre artists and journalists also took part in the protest to express their solidarity with the agitating students.

The police say anti-India slogans were raised on the campus meeting organised to mark the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) co-founder Maqbool Bhat.

Protests, counter-protests in several states; folk singer Kovan among 57 held

Protests against the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charge spread to more states today and there were also counter-protests, with the police having to use mild force in Patna to defuse a clash.

Tamil folk-singer Kovan was among 57 persons detained in Chennai during a protest march taken out against the arrest and attack on Kumar in Patiala House court in Delhi.

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 the ABVP staged counter-protests in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata, demanding action against ‘anti-national’ elements at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the National Capital.

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.

The police used mild force to separate the rival protesters, the City SP said.

The City SP said the situation has been brought under control and additional police force deployed at the spot to prevent further clashes.

In Chennai, 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 the ABVP, the student wing of the 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, the police said posters in support of JNU students opposing the arrest of Kumar and suicide by Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad found on the wall of the canteen of Baroda University’s Fine Arts faculty of University of Baroda, but were later removed, fearing police action.

The intelligence wing of the 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. — IANS/PTI


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