JNU Students Union former president Kanhaiya Kumar whose arrest in a sedition case created a nationwide debate on definition of nationalism recalls that he was introduced to the judge in the courtroom as ‘somebody who has even been to Kashmir’.
“In the courtroom, the judge asked to show the video of the February 9 incident. He remarked that the boy (me) is not seen as shouting slogans in the video, the IO responded saying that he had sufficient evidence against me and I have even been to Kashmir,” Kanhaiya says in his recently published memoir ‘Kanhaiya Kumar-From Bihar to Tihar’.
“I laughed a little to myself when I heard this exchange. It’s true what they say. One can find humour in the most unlikely of places,” he adds.
The student leader further says, “I was taken by surprise when I was asked why did I shout slogans against the country?
I found this very strange. When did I shout slogans against the country? I have been shouting slogans against Modi and that’s no secret. Had Modi now become the country?”
“By now I was beginning to get the feeling that something was seriously wrong. On what grounds had I been arrested, I asked them. Where was the warrant? They replied- ‘you will get the warrant in jail. There, you’ll get everything’,” he adds.
Kanhaiya recalls how 20 days in jail seemed like a ‘lifetime’ to him and how he felt like he was addressing the nation when he made a speech at the university’s administration block which is now known as ‘Freedom Square’.
Kanhaiya was arrested in February on charges of sedition in connection with a controversial event at the JNU campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. His arrest had triggered widespread outrage and protests. He was released on bail on March 3.
In the book, he has talked about his journey from a nondescript Bihar village to Tihar jail and the February 9 incident which catapulted him to the centre stage of student’s politics.