Arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar: Human chain on JNU campus as teachers demand ‘arbitrary charges’ be dropped

The human chain saw participation from civil society activists like Harsh Mander and Teesta Setalvad among others, along with the JNU alumni.

Written by Aranya Shankar | Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2016 7:18 am
jawaharlal nehru university, Kanhaiya Kumat, jnu protest, jnu, afzal guru event, jnu sedition case, jnu case delhi police, jnu case NIA, jnu student arrest, india news, latest news A student shouts slogans even as JNU teachers and students form a human chain inside the campus in protest against arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on Sunday. Express photo by Oinam Anand. 14 February 2016

Even as JNU teachers and students called for an indefinite strike starting Monday, protesting the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, the ABVP staged a protest condemning the move. Thousands of teachers, students and civil society members formed a roughly two-kilometre-long human chain at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday.

The human chain saw participation from civil society activists like Harsh Mander and Teesta Setalvad among others, along with the JNU alumni. The chain stretched from the JNU main gate to Chandrabhaga Hostel, and saw protesters holding posters saying “Killers of Rohith, don’t teach us nationalism”.

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The event took place after a press conference of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) in which they reiterated their demand to have “arbitrary charges” against Kumar dropped, and issued an appeal asking people to “stop demonising the university for a stray incident”.

Responding to questions by the media on Kumar’s alleged Lashkar links, JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik, said, “JNU is inclusive, and anyone who doesn’t like inclusion is branding JNU anti-national.” “We have internal mechanisms in place that are looking at the unfortunate incident. But even before they could submit the report, the police got involved in the incident. We love our autonomy and want to preserve it at any cost. If anybody thinks they can bulldoze us or create fear in us, it will not happen,” he added.

The conference also saw solidarity statements being made and read out by teachers’ associations from Ambedkar University (AUD), Delhi University and student organisations from the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) among others. A total of 40 central universities and FTII have spoken out in support.

The JNUSU has decided to observe a university strike from Monday till the time Kumar is released. Earlier, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members and some teachers and staff members protested outside the administrative block, against the university strike.
“We strictly condemn this behavior of JNUTA. These teachers, who should show some concern for the nation, are in strong support of the ones who are willing to destroy the nation. If JNUTA and these teachers don’t stop doing this, we will demand their dismissal,” said JNUSU Joint-Secretary Saurabh Sharma, who is an ABVP member.

Apart from JNUTA, other organisations also spoke against Kumar’s arrest. “What is happening in JNU now is absolutely unprecedented. The charges of sedition against Kanhaiya are politically motivated. It may have been in bad taste, but legally it was not seditious. There is a huge difference between the two,” said DU Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Nandita Narain.

A statement by Joint Action Committee of HCU was also read out by the organisers, alleging Kumar’s intention was to shift focus from Vemula’s death. “Even after JNUSU made clear its stand condemning anti-India slogans raised by some fringe elements, the arrest seems to be a move to divert attention away from the institutional murder of Rohith,” the statement read.

President of the AUD Faculty Association, Rukmini Sen condemned police presence on the campus. “Police action on the pretext of national security and branding any kind of dissent as anti-national is a dangerous and undemocratic practice — a feature that was witnessed in University of Hyderabad recently and now JNU.”

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  1. M
    MyTake
    Feb 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm
    Now "luminaries" want to take law into their hands and do not believe in law enforcement agencies and law taking its own course. What law subjects they teach at JNU? Do they have any?
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      Ali Hassan
      Feb 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm
      Kids have gone to JNU to study not to become political goons. all sticking students and teachers should be expelled
      Reply
      1. A
        Amrit Rao
        Feb 16, 2016 at 12:06 am
        You can’t fool all the people all the time. With the page of time it has become clear that home minister Rajnath Singh conspired with ABVP foot soldiers and BJP goons to create trouble in JNU. (1) ABVP members were shouting pro stan slogans on the university campus. See the video by Zee News. BJP MP Maheish Girri is the culprit here (2) It were BJP members who created Hafiz Saeed fake handle to tweet support to the JNU students union (3) As preplanned Rajnath Singh asks police to slap sedition charges against the innocent students. (4) It became clear that Rajnath Singh is a liar. He claimed that security agencies confirmed that Hafiz Saeed tweet was genuine. The police has refuted his claim. (5) Today in Delhi's Patiala House Court Delhi's BJP MLA OP Sharma was caught on camera aulting an unidentified person, while BJP lawyers attacked journalists as well as JNU students and teachers without any provocation. Police stood there and was a mute spectator under direct instructions from Rajanth Singh. (6) The real issue here is the freedom of speech and autonomy of the universities. The larger issue is the secular consution of the country. BJP wants to saffornize the secular insutions of the country.
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          Anand
          Feb 15, 2016 at 5:17 am
          I am totally surprise why all Anti Nationalist elements from JNU are not behind the bar!!... I think, Delhi Police Commissioner is enough competent... should replace on priority... and each and every anti nationalist students should go behind the bar ASAP...
          Reply
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            Anitha
            Feb 15, 2016 at 5:31 am
            (Arrest all striking teachers, students and the anti national leaders like Yechury, Raja and Pappu.) (Slap SEDITION CHARGES on them and refuse bail for 1 year)
            Reply
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              ANOOP
              Feb 15, 2016 at 5:02 am
              JNU does NOT need the BJP or its goons to tell it what nationalism is. This has been the most secular of universities and one where students and teachers alike take pride in engaging in debates. It has been a place the Sangh parivar has always found difficult to swallow. The incident is an excuse to destroy the space it provided. I am an alumni and I am proud of what my alma mater still stands for. PLEASE don't give us lectures on nationalism.
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                Avik Basu
                Feb 15, 2016 at 4:10 pm
                One strange bit.. is the picture of the protesting lady superimposed ?????? Watch out the shadows... these journos.. will do just anything to sensationalize!!
                Reply
                1. S
                  Santanu Nandi
                  Feb 14, 2016 at 11:16 pm
                  hang kanhaiya-kumar first ..
                  Reply
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