It’s now Govt vs Oppn in JNU row; Congress, Left join protests, Centre firm

Amid protests, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ajay Maken, Anand Sharma and CPM head Sitaram Yechury reached the campus.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: February 14, 2016 5:11 am
JNU, JNU protests, jnu protest, jnu afzal guru, jnu afzal guru event, afzal guru event, afzal guru, jnu news, jnu protest news, delhi jnu, delhi news, india news, rahul gandhi, rahul gandhi jnu Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi joined JNU students Saturday to slam the government. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The row over alleged anti-national remarks at a gathering of JNU students and registration of a case of sedition escalated into a political slugfest Saturday with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi attacking the government and a delegation of the Left and JD(U) meeting the Union Home Minister to seek the release of the JNU students’ union president arrested in the case.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function, said there is “no question of harassment of students but the guilty will not be spared”.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju too took a firm stand: “We can’t allow JNU to be a hub of anti-national activities… This was an unfortunate incident. But these are not small kids who don’t know what they do. In the name of freedom of speech, you can’t abuse the nation.”

Read | People suppressing the voice of JNU students are anti-national: Rahul Gandhi

JNU student union president Kanhaiya was arrested Friday in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy over a campus meeting on February 9 against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on that day in 2013.

On Saturday evening, Rahul Gandhi showed up in JNU where he slammed the government action: “What is anti-national? Most anti-national people are those suppressing the voice of students in JNU.”

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “We met the Home Minister and apprised him about the tense atmosphere in JNU. Delhi Police has released a list of 20 students in connection with the event, which also includes (CPI leader) D Raja’s daughter, but we are asking ‘are they seen in the video shouting slogans’. They were present because they are members of students union or groups but that does not mean they were involved in it.”

Read | Do not disagree: JNU arrests over Afzal Guru event are ill-judged, threatens basic rights

“We have demanded that Kanhaiya be released. The Home Minister has assured us that no action will be taken against any innocent student,” he said.

Yechury, who was joined by D Raja and JD(U) spokesperson K C Tyagi, alleged that “the new vice chancellor is acting on the instructions of the government and allowed the police to go ahead with a crackdown… this is happening across all universities that VCs are being removed and the government is appointing persons who are then acting on their instructions.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi also met Rajnath Singh on Saturday. “No innocent shall suffer. DP is firmly committed to the rule of law and does not entertain any malice towards anyone,” he tweeted. In another tweet, he said, “As regards DP, kindly have no doubts. DP is committed to the rule of law. We act without any extraneous influence.”