“I urge the Prime Minister to understand a mother’s pain. Kanhaiya is innocent and represents youth power. Main kanoon nahi samajhti hoon par ek baat jarur jaanti hoon, ki mera beta Bharat ka lal hai (I do not understand law but I do know that my son is the son of India).” This is JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s mother Meena Devi’s appeal to PM Narendra Modi.
Standing at the entrance of her mud-and-tile house here, Meena Devi, an anganwadi worker, says she can wait a few more days for Kanhaiya’s bail, but she cannot “bear the pain of a sedition case” against him.
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“While the PM talks of encouraging youth power, some students, including my son, are being targeted. One should rise above politics and treat students as students,” she says.
Meena Devi has not been keeping well for the past few days, especially on account of the stream of visitors, including mediapersons, at her home.
The house, meanwhile, bears evidence of the support Kanhaiya has. The pillars carry slogans such as “Mother India”. Two painters from Patna have drawn an alligator with an open mouth next to JNU students, some carrying red flags, running to safety, while a message reads “Save JNU, Save India”. Another painting shows Kanhaiya as a “red star”.
Meena Devi says she felt that “something would go wrong” ever since Kanhaiya campaigned for the Teghra CPI candidate in the 2015 elections. The CPI candidate was second runner-up, behind the BJP. RJD won the seat.
Kanhaiya’s father Jai Shanker Singh, bedridden since 2013, keeps his eyes glued to the TV. “At least two channels portrayed my son as a villain, but with police not being able to show any evidence, most people now believe Kanhaiya was framed. My son is being talked about internationally, but a poor father like me only wants Kanhaiya to be cleared of the charges,” says Singh.
Kanhaiya’s brother Prince Singh, who stays in Bihat to take care of his parents, says: “I believe Kanhaiya’s case has something to do with his expressing solidarity with Hyderabad University student Rohith Vemula. We are also upset with the Delhi Police Commissioner for going back on his word on Kanhaiya’s bail.”
A Begusarai Police team is deployed near Kanhaiya’s house to prevent any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, the local CPI office is buzzing with activity. Bihat, which comes under Teghra Assembly segment, is known as “Leningrad” of Bihar. Until recently, the CPI used to win all seven seats of Begusarai. The BJP wrested the Teghra seat in 2010.
Local CPI leader Shiv Shanker Singh, who mentored Kanhaiya during his graduation days at Patna, says: “Kanhaiya’s ideology centres on the fight for equality and socialism. The episode has given a boost to Left politics.”