I am a resident of India, not a terrorist: JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar

Kumar deflected questions on JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya who have also been arrested on charges of sedition.

Written by Shikha Sharma , Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: March 5, 2016 8:42 am
Kumar also spoke out against attempts to ‘patent’ nationalism and ‘malign’ JNU’s image. Oinam Anand Kumar also spoke out against attempts to ‘patent’ nationalism and ‘malign’ JNU’s image. Oinam Anand

There is a difference between being anti-government and treason, said JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar Friday, accusing the Narendra Modi-led Union government of using the colonial era sedition law as a “political tool”.

He spoke out against attempts to ‘patent’ nationalism and ‘malign’ JNU’s image. “We strongly condemn what happened on February 9. It is for the court to decide if that was ‘rajdroh’ or not. But I urge the government not to use the serious charge of sedition to ruin the future of students,” he said at a press conference. He added that he is “a resident of India and not a terrorist”, and insisted there is a difference between “deshdroh and rajdroh”.

NUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid addresses a news conference at the JNU campus in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo) NUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid addresses a news conference at the JNU campus in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo)

Kumar deflected questions on JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya who have also been arrested on charges of sedition. Reacting to remarks that taxpayers’ money was being wasted in running JNU, Kumar said, “I want to tell the people of the country that the taxes they pay are being invested in the right place.”

Asked if he would join politics, Kumar said, “I am not a politician, I am a student.” He insisted JNU students could never be anti-national, as they “understand” the meaning of freedom of speech.

Kumar also criticised ABVP’s idea of “Akhand Bharat”. “I am against patent-wadi, nationalism cannot be anyone’s patented idea.” He warned his supporters of “divisive and false binaries”. “Students of JNU are patriotic not anti-national,” he said, assuring the “taxpayers of this country” that JNU is a “custodian of democratic space in the country”.

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid (L) and Rama Naga (R) who is facing sedition charges, addresses a news conference at the JNU campus in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid (L) and Rama Naga (R) who is facing sedition charges, addresses a news conference at the JNU campus in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

Kumar said the JNU’s fight to reclaim the democratic space will be long drawn. “There can’t be a victory march but a unity march on that.” He added, “Problem is that the government of the country has become the government of one party. Not one party but one office.”

Kumar expressed worry over how a certain kind of image being created about the university was impacting students’ lives. “I am being told students are finding it difficult in trains if passengers get to know they are from JNU, autowallahs are refusing to ferry them. This is the sad part of this controversy, rest all is a fight which will go on.”

Asked whether the controversy would affect his relationship with students on the campus who are affiliated with ABVP, Kumar said, “My hostel room is next to (the room of) the president of JNU’s ABVP unit. This is the beauty of JNU. It is a fight between two ideologies and not individuals.” He took hope from students of different ideologies coming together for him. “What was happening outside jail, I was getting to know only from news reports. It’s not just Left supporters who stood by me… those who haven’t been able to decide whether they should hold the Left flag or the Right’s are also coming out in support of JNU.”

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  1. A
    Ashoknarang
    Mar 6, 2016 at 2:56 am
    Why are you behaving like this? Is it your background of anti Indiayou are uttering these words. You are a student leader concentrate on your studies make career and then do service to your society/people's. I am sure you will never ever go back to your village/town to serve them for real changeand you can't not do it but want to be the so called leader of backward cles on the pretext of freedom of speech. Leave the campus and then try, I am sure you will realize within few days of your worth/talent. Ashok Narang Toronto Canada
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    1. V
      vvvvv
      Mar 5, 2016 at 9:49 am
      Good and excellent job by Kanhaiya Kumar you are true son of india... Now different color appearing of top b leaders till yesterday curse congress and today adopting the Dictator raj... in this case what is wrong with Nehru raj....
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        dssarma
        Mar 5, 2016 at 10:23 am
        This Kanhaiya kumar need to explain why he has over seen the programme of sloganeering where the slogans like Manipur mange ajadi, kerala mange ajadi, kashmir mange ajadi and nagaland mange ajadi were raised. He need to answer why he allowed the slogans supporting Afjal Guru? He cannot escape saying that he do not know who raised them. It is shame ful that a section of media and political parties are supporting this type of anti national forces under their anger against Modi and BJP. India is watching what is going on in JNU and people will teach a lesson to these people when the time comes. At that time, courts may not help.
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          Nimeshsinh Ravalji
          Mar 5, 2016 at 11:29 am
          Its March and Exams are near you read and let other read.
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            Nimeshsinh Ravalji
            Mar 5, 2016 at 11:28 am
            Your name suggests you are India , and when you have to say i am not terrorist ,there must be a terrorist hidding in you.
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