Students and faculty members of UK-based institutions condemned the violence and sedition charge against Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and other students of the university.
In a statement, they said, “We stand in solidarity with JNU and demand the immediate release of the democratically elected JNUSU president, Kanhaiya Kumar, who is booked under charges of sedition. We are appalled at the continuous failure of the police in trying to protect Kanhaiya Kumar in Patiala House Complex when in police custody. The charges of ‘sedition’ and ‘anti-national activities’ brought against Umer Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and other students is no less disturbing. We demand an end to this witch hunt and violence being undertaken and/or allowed by the State against some students in particular and the university as a whole in the name of nationalism.”
Those who signed the letter include Dr Rohit K Dasgupta (University of Southampton), Taneesha Devi Mohan (London School of Economics), Dr Shinjini Das (University of Cambridge), Dr Mumtaz Naiyar (University of Southampton) among others.
Kanhaiya, Umer Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested by the police in connection with an event at the university in which anti-national slogans and those in favour of terrorist Afzal Guru were allegedly raised. The controversy has led to huge students protests both at the university as well as in several cities across the country.
The issue was debated in Parliament with the Opposition slamming the government for slapping sedition charge against the students.