JNU students question BJP’s alliance with PDP

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 NEW DELHI: If we are being called anti nationals for shouting “seditious” slogans questioning hanging of Afzal Guru, then why BJP has an alliance with PDP in Kashmir, which has always “opposed” his execution, asked three students of JNU who were under scanner for an event on campus on the same issue.

“Can BJP charge PDP with sedition for its stand on Afzal Guru. If even thinking about Guru makes a student seditious, why they have an alliance with PDP in Kashmir, which has always opposed the hanging of Afzal Guru and even was party to a resolution brought in the state assembly against his execution,” Ashutosh, told reporters in Delhi.

JNUSU general secretary Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakash, are among the five students who have resurfaced back on campus after 10 days of JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest on sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-India slogans during the controversial.

Anant, former vice-president of JNUSU, said, “we are not receiving fellowships on time and they talk about us receiving foreign funding for ‘seditious’ events on campus. Even if they consider any activity to be unconstitutional or unlawful, they can condemn it but not criminalise.” “The entire country’s energy and time is being wasted by using the top machinery for spying against students debating on campus. If we stand opposite to their ideology then they should bring us in mainstream like they did with PDP. How funny it is that they don’t share the ideology but can share the power?” he added.

The trio surfaced back on the varsity campus on Sunday night along with Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya who have been sent to three days police remand by a city court, after their midnight surrender and subsequent arrest in the case.

Reiterating their stand of not surrendering before police, Rama Naga said, “we have not been issued any summons so why should be surrender. We have communicated police about our whereabouts and that we are open to questioning”. “We are going to join the movement against branding of the university as anti-national and attack on students. If the movement goes outside the campus, we are going to join there as well,” he added.

The students also feature in the list of those who were academically debarred by the university on basis of a preliminary enquiry report by a high-level committee probing the issue.

The varsity has allowed them to stay as guests in hostels to enable them to participate in enquiry process. Jawaharlal Nehru University is caught in a row over an event in the campus to commemorate the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, where “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.

 

Delhi Police grills Kanhaiya, Umar again

Delhi Police on Friday started second round of questioning of Jawaharlal Nehru University students Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, sources said.

According to the sources, Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who have been arrested in connection with a sedition case filed against them, were questioned for five hours on Thursday.

According to the sources, Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban, who have been arrested in connection with a sedition case filed against them, were questioned for five hours on Thursday.

A Delhi court on Thursday sent JNUSU President Kanhaiya, to one day police custody after the prosecution said that he was needed to be confronted with the other two arrested JNU students Umar and Anirban.

The police had applied for the production warrant of Kumar on Wednesday on the ground that he was needed to be confronted with the other two students in view of the discrepancies in their statements regarding the controversial JNU event.

While opposing the plea, Kumar’s counsel, Bankim Kulshrestha, said that the police already had got five days’ custody of his client and it had sufficient time to interrogate him in the matter.

The counsel further said that there was no connection between Kumar and the other two students arrested in the case as they belong to different student wings.

The police had arrested Kumar on February 12, a day after a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy was registered at Vasant Kunj (North) Police Station in connection with an event in the varsity’s campus in which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

The case was registered on the basis of a video footage of the event obtained from a Hindi news channel.

While Kumar was arrested, at least five others including Khalid and Anirban went absconsing after the event. They resurfaced in JNU campus on Monday night and surrendered before police.

Khalid and Anirban were sent to three days’ police remand by a city court, after their midnight surrender and subsequent arrest in a case of sedition.

 

It’s not sedition: Chidambaram

Former Finance and Home Minister P. Chidambaram has described the Union government’s case against Jawaharlal Nehru University students charged with sedition as weak, saying, “Any lawyer familiar with the law laid down in this behalf will know that this is not sedition.”

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Chidambaram said it was entirely “possible that there are some students whose sympathies lie with the Maoist movement, but unless there is incitement to violence, it is not sedition”.

“The slogan Pakistan Zindabad, etc. is heard every day in Kashmir. The slogan for Khalistan is heard almost every week in Punjab. There were people in Tamil Nadu who sing the praises of the LTTE and even glorify the LTTE cadres who were behind the killing of [former Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi. Some of it is clearly unacceptable and punishable. But is it punishable as sedition? That is the distinction we are drawing. Now which other law is attracted will depend on the nature of the provocation, the exact words that were uttered and the place and time and context in which they were uttered. Any lawyer familiar with the law laid down in this behalf will know that this is not sedition,” he said.

“And even today, I find that the Police Commissioner is defending the charge sheet against Kanhaiya Kumar [president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union] on the ground of sedition. Clearly, going through what Kanhaiya Kumar said on that day, it does not attract the law of sedition. In fact, I don’t think his speech attracts any law at all,” he said.

He said the government was framing the debate on identities — on the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri over the allegation of storing beef or the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad — in a polarising manner, distracting attention from bread and butter issues.

He said he had been in favour of withdrawing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Jammu and Kashmir, but did not see it happening in this government.

Mr. Chidambaram said events in the rest of India and cases like that of Dadri and JNU would have consequences in Kashmir.

“See, the mind of the Kashmiri youth gets affected not only by what happens in the Kashmir Valley. It also gets affected by what happens elsewhere in India. I think the increased sense of fear and insecurity among the Muslims is playing on the minds of Muslims all over India, including Muslims in Kashmir. How can one say that the Kashmiri youth are not concerned about what happens to other Muslims in the rest of India,” he asked.

He denied that the previous Congress-led government had doubts over the culpability of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

“I said one can hold an honest opinion that the case was not correctly decided and the degree of involvement of Afzal Guru was not correctly assessed. If someone holds that opinion, he doesn’t become an anti-national. He’s just holding a different opinion,” he said.

 

JNU case isn’t one of sedition: Former SC judge

“The case against Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar does not amount to sedition. India is the largest democracy in the world. Something or the other is said every day in some corner of the vast country. Are we to be affected by this? What is going to happen to us by mere raising of slogans? I find it laughable.”

That’s former Supreme Court judge Justice Faizanuddin, who, in 1995, along with Justice A S Anand delivered the benchmark judgment on the issue of sedition and what constitutes sedition in the Balwant Singh and another versus State of Punjab case (1995).

Reached for his comments in view of the sharp divide over the Delhi Police’s action to book and arrest JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar for sedition, Justice Faizanuddin told The Indian Express: “Every bloody issue goes to the highest level, from the Supreme Court to Parliament. It is meaningless and yet everybody gets involved.’’

“I am an old timer, I have old ethics but I don’t agree with what’s happening today,” the octogenarian, who retired in 1997, said. Justice Anand could not be reached for his comments.

The ruling dealt with sedition charges against Balwant Singh and an accomplice who had raised anti-India slogans in Chandigarh within hours of Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984.

 

Gandhiji, Tilak were also held under sedition charge:Digvijaya Singh

Indore: Alleging that JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was purposely being targeted, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday said that even freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak were arrested under sedition charge during the British rule.

“Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were also arrested on sedition charge during the British rule. Sedition law has been used against freedom fighters during independence struggle. However, we oppose the atmosphere created by BJP in the country over the JNU issue,” he said.

Digvijaya alleged that in order to cover up its shortcomings and failures, the government has raked up the JNU issue .

“Once upon a time, RSS and BJP gave certificates to people of being Hindus. Now, they want to give certificate of patriotism as well. These are the people who didn’t take part in the independence struggle and considered helping the British government as patriotism. These people are teaching us new definition of patriotism in independent India,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

He alleged that in order to cover up its shortcomings and failures, the Narendra Modi government has raked up the JNU issue and ignited a debate of patriotism and sedition. “It is trying to thrust fascist ideology on people,” he said.

The senior Congress leader said that Kanhaiya Kumar is being targeted deliberately and claimed that investigators don’t have any proof to show that he raised anti-national slogans.

“BJP runs the government in Kashmir with such a political party whose members openly chant slogans against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. But when a JNU student indulges in such sloganeering, he is charged with sedition,” the Congress leader alleged.

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