A couple of days post the event, on February 11, he was booked under a sedition case and was sent to a three-day judicial custody. Kumar then had to spend 23 days in the Tihar Jail and was released on bail.
Many media houses reported Kanhaiya Kumar, along with the other students charged with sedition like Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, raised anti-national slogans inside the JNU campus and even presented video evidence. Officials said anti-India sloganeering did ring through the JNU campus last February, but Kumar’s voice has tested negative in forensic tests. Sources said most of the other slogan shouters were Kashmiri students.
Watch video: Kanhaiya Kumar raised no anti-India slogans in JNU, says lab report
HERE’S A MUCH NEEDED RECAP OF WHAT HAPPENED INSIDE THE JNU CAMPUS ON FEBRUARY 9
Former DSU members organise a cultural event to protest what they called the “judicial killing” of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat. These students believe Afzal Guru was wrongly framed in the case. The Supreme Court verdict giving death sentence to Afzal Guru read, “The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender”.
Why hold a meet for a terror attack accused?
Their view that the Supreme Court is in place not to satisfy the collective conscience of the society but to serve justice based on evidence is shared by many. This includes Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Justice Markandey Katju and writer Arundhati Roy. The People’s Democratic Party of Jammur and Kashmir, with whom the Bharatiya Janata Party has formed a government in the state, had called Guru’s hanging “travesty of justice”.
The students organised the meeting to discuss Guru’s execution and to stand in solidarity with many Kashmiris who they believe have been wrongly accused, harassed on a day-to-day basis and even killed. Expressing views, however radical it may sound, and debating it out is a democratic setup followed in JNU. Conflicting views arise, but these are discussed and debated in a non-violent way, the way an ideal democracy should be.
A JNU student’s account on the organisers
In a Quora thread that went viral last year, a JNU student who claimed to have witnessed what happened inside the campus on February 9, also wrote about the former DSU members. He said, “Democratic Students Union is an ultra-leftist group in the campus. It’s a very small group of very well read students. They are not terrorists or naxals by any means. I have been in the campus for more than two years and never have I witnessed or heard of them committing a terror activity as much as of throwing a stone, let alone overthrowing the state”.
How ABVP’s view clashes with JNU’s democratic fabric
The ABVP members wrote to the administration, 20 minutes before the commencement of the event, demanding permission for the Afzal Guru event be withdrawn stating it was “harmful for the campus atmosphere”. Fearing violent clashes in the campus, possibly, the administration withdrew the permission.
This is when the Afzal Guru meet organisers sought help from JNUSU, and other student organisations Students Federation of India (SFI) and All India Students Association (AISA). The organisers requested members of these organisations to gather in support of their “right to democratically and peacefully hold meetings”. They complied, but this DID NOT mean they gathered in support of the ultra-leftist stand taken by ex-DSU members on Kashmir or what they feel about Afzal Guru’s execution. The meeting was decided to be held.
Who all attended the event on February 9?
The event was open to all. Apart from the organisers and members of the ABVP who were present to obstruct the conduction of the event, there were many Kashmiri students attending the event. Members of JNUSU, SFI and AISA were also present to ensure the event is not hindered by ABVP in a violent way.
The anti-national slogans
The main issue that got highlighted about the event, and eventually led to sedition charge being slapped on students, was that participants raised “anti-national slogans”. “Bharat ki barbaadi tak jung rahegi, jung rahegi”, “India, go back”, and “azaadi” slogans were said to be raised during the event. There were videos from the event circulated on social media and the faces of people raising the above slogans were clear. The earlier mentioned Quora thread, the JNU student wrote that the Kashmiri students who had come for the meeting raised the slogans, and that he couldn’t recognise even a single face from that group. These people were not identified, slapped with sedition or chargesheeted. Instead, some doctored videos produced and telecast by certain media outlets were taken as evidence that led to the arrest of Kanhayia Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya among others.
WATCH | Patroit war on campuses: Are azadi slogans threat to the idea of India?
The February 11 event
Before getting arrested, Kumar delivered a fiery speech during which he said students do not need a “certificate of patriotism” or “nationalist certificate” from the RSS.
“We fight for the 80 per cent of the poor population of this country,” he said. “For us, this is nation worship.” He accused ABVP of “running an orchestrated campaign”, which he said they are doing “in association with their media friends”.
On February 13, over 5,000 students and teachers assembled in the JNU campus “in defence of democracy and right to dissent”.
Jail sentence and defamation
Kanhaiya Kumar spent at least 26 days inside prison for being accused of raising anti-national slogans. Over the past one year, he has been tagged an anti-national, was thrashed by lawyers inside court premises, and was even called a traitor.
A year later, the investigation is nearing an end, and he’s been given a clean chit.
#Flashback: Is Kanhaiya Kumar a politician in the making?
Source – India Today
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