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Dhaka Tribune

What went wrong at JNU?

Update : 15 Feb 2016, 07:23 PM

In the last few days the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) university has seen its student president, Kanhaiya Kumar, put behind the bars, police raining blows on students, the federal home minister threatening tough action against supposed anti-national elements, and plenty of clashes between students bodies. Kumar has been arrested on charges of criminal conspiracy and sedition.

Timeline of events at JNU

It all started when students at JNU, most of who were members of the Democratic Students’ Union – a left-oriented body, held an event to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru, who had attacked the parliament back in 2001. It was basically a protest meeting. Over there, some protesting students, along with a few outsiders, chanted supposedly anti-Indian slogans and also termed Afazal Guru a martyr. The BJP-leaning Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested against the said event and this led to a clash between both units. Incidentally the university administration had also withdrawn its permission for the event based on the complaints of ABVP. When the police was informed of the same they came and arrested a few unknown people on charges of sedition. A disciplinary inquiry into the incident was initiated. The students groups, supported by left parties, have already accused the administration of acting on the orders of ABVP, and the ABVP has burnt effigies of the administrators because of not taking sufficient action against ones they have termed anti-national elements.

What’s the government’s stance?

Rajnath Singh, the federal home minister, has stated in clear terms that the administration will not tolerate any anti-national element in the university premises. He has further said that strict action will be taken against such elements. He has further stated that this incident had the backing of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and it is important that the country understands that. Smriti Irani, the federal human resource development minister, has also reacted strongly to the incident saying that the country shall not tolerate any insult against itself. Rajan Bhagat, the spokesperson of Delhi Police, has said that an FIR has been lodged at the Vasant Kunj North police station under Section 120B of IPC for criminal conspiracy and Section 124 A for sedition.

What are the students saying?

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has already clarified that it does not have anything with the slogans and has also termed them undemocratic. However, it has laid into ABVP for bringing into disrepute the hitherto democratic traditions of the university. ABVP students have meanwhile demanded action against students whom they perceive as anti-national elements within the university. The students at JNU have meanwhile asked that police should not be brought inside the campus. They have also been protesting against the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar who has received the support of left leaders who have met Rajnath and asked for him to be released from prison. 

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