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Dhaka Tribune

Indian opposition raises concerns over JNU protests

Update : 16 Feb 2016, 08:21 PM

Indian opposition leaders raised concerns on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over widening protests on university campuses, as the heated political atmosphere again threatened to stall reforms in parliament.

Lower House of the parliament Lok Sabha convene on February 23 for a session in which the government will present its annual budget and try to enact key economic reforms, including the biggest overhaul of taxes since independence in 1947.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government was ready to discuss all major issues, including the protests, after opposition lawmakers raised the issue with Modi at an all-party meeting aimed at preparing the ground for the upcoming session.

His comments came against the backdrop of the biggest Indian nationwide student protests in a quarter of a century that followed the arrest of a student leader at a rally to mark the anniversary of the execution of a Kashmiri separatist.

Mohammad Afzal Guru was hanged amid controversy three years ago over his role in a 2001 attack on parliament that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. The Supreme Court called the evidence against him circumstantial.

Students, academics and journalists took part in a fresh round of demonstrations on Tuesday to protest the arrest for sedition of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the student union at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi.

In a counter demonstrations, government supporters staged a noisy protest outside the gates of the university that is known for its tradition of left-wing student politics.

They burned an effigy of a JNU “traitor” and accused students of trying to break apart India with the support of the opposition Congress and communist parties. 

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