JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday compared the alleged onslaught on varsities with Gujarat riots alleging both of them were carried out “with support” from state machinery even as he stressed that there is a fundamental difference between “emergency” and “fascism”.
Asserting that there is a difference between 2002 riots and 1984 Sikh massacre Kanhaiya alleged that Gujarat violence was carried out through state machinery while the other was caused due to mob frenzy.
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“There is difference between emergency and fascism. During emergency, goons of only one party were engaged into goondaism, in this (fascism) entire state machinery is resorting to goondaism. There is difference between riots of
2002 and 1984 Sikh riots.
“There is a fundamental difference between a mob killing a common man and massacring people through state machinery. Therefore, the threat of communal fascism we are faced with today, there is an attack being launched on universities, because like Hitler, Modi ji doesn’t have support from intellectuals in India. No intellectual is defending Modi regime,” he added.
Noting the present time is an era of “Islamophobia” , Kanhaiya underscored a need for understanding history first before reaching a conclusion on any issue.
“Today it’s an era of Islamophobia. Leave aside the words of terrorism and terrorist. The moment these words will come to your mind, imprints of face of a Muslim person will be there in your mind. This is Islamophobia.
“Connotations, meaning of a word change. Hence, it is important for us to understand history before we reach to conclusion on anything,” he said.
Kanhaiya was addressing the gathering during a panel discussion on “Voices of Azaadi” during the “Jashne-e-azaadi” festival which was organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of the late historian Professor Bipan Chandra.
The celebration comes at a time when JNU students havekick started a “nationalism and azaadi debate” across the country after it came under attack for an event on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Kanhaiya and two more students-Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – were arrested in a sedition case over the event and are out on bail now.
Umar said though they have been released from the confines of Tihar jail but they continue to face threats.
“A very dangerous situation is unfolding before our eyes for all of us. Today also I read a news report which said before April 8, some person will come to JNU and shoot down me and Kanhaiya.
“While three of us maybe ‘azad’ from the confines of Tihar, in this larger prison that our country is becoming, there is a great deal of danger to our lives. Therefore, there remains great restrictions on our Azadi. Our azadi to move, go to field, go out with friends and things like that,” he said.
Referring to JNU as a “carnival for demands of freedom”, Anirban threw light on the slogans raised in and out of the campus ever since the controversial event took place on February 9.
“The debate here is not about national versus anti-national but between azaadi slogans and that of bharat mata ki jai.
“Everybody thinks that the azadi slogans come from the Kashmir Valley but the truth is it did not emanate either from Kashmir or from JNU but from Kamla Bhasin’s movement demanding freedom from patriarchy,” he said.
The programme which was divided in four sessions saw historians including Irfan Habib, Mrdiula Mukherjee and Aditya Mukherjee, deliberating upom lives and works of Bipan Chandra,
While Habib spoke of his association and differences on certain points in history with Chandra, Mukherjee spoke about his intellectual journey.