Former JNUSU vice president Anant Prakash Narayan, who is one of the six students charged with sedition, has written an open letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, accusing her government of wanting to turn central universities into a “cemetery for students”.
“In your speech (in Parliament), you shouted repeatedly that politics was being played around Rohith’s death. I don’t believe that you are so naive that you don’t understand that Rohith’s death was caused by saffron politics. Rohith was against right-wing politics, of which you are a part, and he had to pay with his life for that. But he was so noble that he forgave you. Today your government and organisation want to turn central universities into a cemetery for students,” he wrote in an open letter published on Kafila, a website.
He also questioned Irani’s decision to read the names of the suspended students in Parliament on the basis of an interim report. “Are you not aware of principle of natural justice in which you can’t take action against anybody without listening to them. Before reading out names in Parliament should you have not waited for the final report of the enquiry committee?… We don’t expect pity from you, in fact try to attack us as strongly as possible, we will also gather our strength and hit back as strongly,” Narayan wrote.
He also attacked Irani for her comments on Mahishasur Martyrdom Day celebrations. “Are you not aware that there are multiple religious faiths? Do you not know that in some parts of the country, Dalits and Adivasis associate their religious faith with Mahishasur? I am a communist and an atheist and I don’t believe in any religion but I believe that everyone has a right to their religion.”
Narayan also took on Irani for not standing in support of Rohith’s mother.
“… when a Dalit woman was fighting to give her children a respectable place in society then what was your duty as a woman? Should you have not stood with her? Why were you and your government associating her child with his father’s identity when she, in an attempt to challenge patriarchy and Brahmanism, was trying to associate him with her identity?”
He signed off the letter as “a deshdrohi created by you”.