SRINAGAR: Students and scholars at Kashmir University on Tuesday launched a signature campaign to express solidarity with the JNU students and former Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, who are facing sedition charge in connection with an event to mark the anniversary of hanged Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.
The students and scholars gathered in the main lawns of Allama Iqbal Library on Tuesday morning to kick start the signature campaign, officials said. They said the protestors were carrying placards and banners, which read: “We stand for freedom of speech and expression”, “we stand with JNU”, “Solidarity with JNU”, “Dissent is our right”, “We question fascism”, “Do not label students as terrorist”, “His name is Umar Khalid, He is not a terrorist” and “Hanging of Afzal Guru, travesty of justice”.
Later, the scholars marched in a procession and shouted slogans in favour of Geelani and JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. The march culminated peacefully within the campus, the officials said.
Torch rally in Jadavpur against ‘fascist expansion’
A section of students at Jadavpur University here took out a torch rally on Tuesday calling for consolidation of campus democracy against fascist expansion in the wake of recent events at JNU.
Eschewing any organisational affiliation, at least 50 students walked with blazing torches urging others to remain united.
With slogans like “moshal diye korbo sesh lej gutiye RSS” (the torches will force RSS to fold), they also encouraged more debates on the issue of campus democracy.
The university was at the centre of a raging controversy last week.
Protest in Delhi over student’s death, sedition case
Shouting slogans and holding placards, thousands of students and teachers marched through the heart of the Indian capital Tuesday to protest the recent death of a student who faced caste discrimination and the arrest of a student leader on sedition charges.
The protesters from New Delhi’s two main universities marched near the Indian parliament, demanding the student’s immediate release and condemning violence by supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist party.
Kanhaiya Kumar, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s student union, was arrested earlier this month over his participation in events where anti-India slogans were allegedly shouted.
Opposition politicians who addressed the rally accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and his Bharatiya Janata Party of suppressing freedom of expression and fanning communal tensions.
Hundreds of policemen stood silently as the students, joined by thousands of teachers, journalists and ordinary citizens, shouted slogans and waved Indian flags.
“We will not tolerate attacks on freedom of speech,” ”BJP government come to your senses,” and “Down with the BJP government” the protesters shouted as they marched to the accompaniment of drums.
The turmoil that has gripped JNU has led to criticism that the Modi government is attacking freedom of expression and dissent, with the academic community condemning the ultra-nationalism promoted by Hindu nationalist groups.
“This is the result of the BJP’s concerted attacks on students. The BJP has a single-point agenda to wipe out all opposition,” said Shehla Rashid, a JNU student.
A New Delhi court has remanded Kumar in custody until March 2. Five other students who face similar allegations are expected to surrender to police later.
In Srinagar, the main city of Indian-controlled Kashmir, dozens of students in the University of Kashmir marched in the campus in solidarity with protesting JNU students.
Kashmir University students also demanded the release of Delhi University lecturer, S.A.R. Geelani, arrested last week on sedition charges for organizing an event in Indian capital where anti-India slogans were allegedly shouted along with criticism against the 2013 secret hanging of a Kashmiri separatist convicted of attacking the Indian Parliament.
The protesters are also demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, a student of Hyderabad University, who police say committed suicide after being subjected to sustained discrimination on account of his caste.
The protesters accused Hyderabad University’s vice chancellor of unfairly demanding punishment for five lower-caste students, including Vemula, after they clashed last year with student supporters of the BJP.
Although caste discrimination was outlawed soon after India’s independence from Britain in 1947, it remains influential. The government sets quotas at universities and in jobs to reverse the discrimination.
SC agrees to act against lawyers
The Supreme Court today agreed to consider a plea seeking contempt action against three lawyers allegedly caught on camera bragging and boasting that they had beaten up JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar in police lock-up for three hours at the Patiala House Court complex here.
This allegation has been never made before us. This is a new allegation which has come up. You file an appropriate petition and we will consider it, a bench comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice A M Sapre said after a plea for contempt action against these lawyers was mentioned before it.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan said the three lawyers who were allegedly involved in violence at Patiala House Court Complex on February 15 and 17 had conceded in a sting operation aired by some news channels that they had beaten up the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) President.
These three lawyers were at the forefront during the violent incidents at Patiala House Court Complex on February 15 and 17. They had conceded in a sting operations aired by two news channels yesterday that they had beaten up Kanhaiya Kumar, Bhushan said.
He said these lawyers have bragged and boasted in the sting operation that next time they will bring petrol bombs and were even ready to go to the jail to beat Kumar in his cell.
These bragging and boasting by the lawyers is trampling the rule of law. Its high time that the Supreme Court takes suo motu notice of the matter and issue contempt notice against these lawyers, Bhushan said.
To this, the bench asked Bhushan whether anybody has lodged a case against the three lawyers or has Kanhaiya Kumar accepted that they had beaten him in the police lock-up.
Bhushan, while replying to the query, alleged that police was complacent about lodging any complaint regarding the violence in Patiala House and even Kumar has not said anything about any such incident.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the petitioner N D Jaya Prakash, submitted that a report of National Human Rights Commission has said that Kumar was being terrorised by the lawyers.
She said there was a genuine threat perception to the accused and his security and safety needs to be ensured.
The bench then said it will look into the matter after a proper application is filed.
JNU a sex, drugs hub: BJP MLA
Amidst the raging JNU row, a BJP MLA has stoked fresh controversy by alleging that the premier university is a hub of sex and drugs where over 3,000 used condoms and 2,000 liquor bottles are daily found.
Gyandev Ahuja, BJP MLA from Ramgarh in Rajasthans Alwar district, alleged that those studying in JNU were indulging in all these illicit activities.
More than 10,000 butts of cigarettes and 4,000 pieces of beedis are found daily in the JNU campus. 50,000 big and small pieces of bones are left by those eating non-vegetarian food. They gorge on meat… these anti-nationals. 2,000 wrappers of chips and namkeen are found, as also 3,000 used condoms the misdeeds they commit with our sisters and daughters there. And 500 used contraceptive injections are also found.
Besides this, 2,000 liquor bottles as also over 3,000 beer cans and bottles are daily detected in the campus, he claimed. Who drinks it? Takes a guess, he said.
The BJP MLA went on to claim that Students are mostly found taking drugs after 8 p.m. inside the campus. Those studying in JNU are not children, many are parents of even two children. They indulge in peace protests in the mornings and during the nights, they perform obscene dance, he said during a protest march on Monday in Alwar attacking JNU students.
Rahul, Kejriwal join students
Thousands of students from various universities across the country today hit the streets of the capital demanding justice for Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and protesting the JNU row with Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal joining them in slamming the Modi government against “crushing” voices of dissent.
In the second such protest in less than a week, the students marched from central Delhi’s Jhandewalan to Jantar Mantar where they held a rally which was addressed by Rahul, Kejriwal, CPI’s D Raja, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri, social activist Medha Patkar and mother of Rohith Vemula and all of them warned the NDA government against “messing” with young minds.
Mounting a fresh attack, Rahul accused the Modi dispensation and RSS of stifling voices of dissent of college and university students across the country while Kejriwal accused those in power of “distributing certificates of patriotism”, alleging that “goondaism” has been unleashed to crush dissent.
Rahul said his party will fight for enactment of a law to protect them from “discrimination” and “suppression”.
“We need a law to ensure that students in colleges and universities do not face discrimination and their voice is not stifled,” Rahul said, lending support to the students.
The Congress Vice President also slammed the government for not including issues like Rohith’s death and difficulties being faced by students of universities in the President’s address to Parliament today.
Kejriwal, who came to rally an hour after Rahul left, said the Centre was at “war” with the students of the country and asked the Prime minister to “mend his ways”. Otherwise, he said, students will “teach him a lesson”.
“What happened that youth who had supported Modi have risen against him today? This government seems to be at war with students of the country.
“Now they have started distributing certificates of patriotism. They are distributing certificates as to who is a patriot and who is a traitor. They will beat anyone up, or rape anyone and justify it by saying that they were raising slogans against India.
“This goondaism won’t be tolerated. For them the biggest patriot is Nathuram Godse and the biggest traitor is Kanhaiya. The biggest patriot is Adityanath and traitor Mahatma Gandhi. Biggest patriot Sadhvi Ritambhara and biggest traitor Aamir Khan. For them all these hoodlums are patriots,” he said.
Kejriwal said youth of the country will come down hard on Modi if he does not mend his ways.
“If Modiji does not mend his ways then very soon the youth and students will come together to teach him a lesson,” Kejriwal said, adding “I had said earlier, ‘Modiji students se pange mat lena’ (don’t mess with students). Otherwise they will rock your government and you won’t have a clue.”
Slamming the Centre for taking action against students for expressing dissent, he said everybody has the right to raise voice against anything which is
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