In an old brick house in Bihat village in Bihar’s Begusarai district, the home of arrested JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, his parents are stunned by the sedition charge slapped on him. They say he can never be “a danger to Mother India” as he is being called.
Confined to his bed since 2013 when the left side of his body was paralysed, 65-year-old Jaishankar Singh maintains: “I could study only up to Class X but I ensured my children received good education. Education is the biggest capital for poor people like us. No video or audio footage has shown my son saying anything anti-national. He has been framed.” Turning to a crowd that has gathered at his home, he asks, “What do you think will happen? Only God knows…”
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Kanhaiya’s mother Meena Devi puts on a brave face. “This phase will pass… Nothing shall happen to my son because he can never say or do anything against the country… There is a court. I have full faith in my son and God.” An anganwadi worker, she supports the family with her earnings of Rs 3,000 a month — the eldest of three sons too works.
Struggling to raise himself on the bed to catch TV updates on his son, Singh believes his son has been “framed because JNU is a Left stronghold”. He thinks Kanhaiya landed in trouble because “he had campaigned for the CPI candidate” during the Bihar polls last year.
Bihat is part of the Teghra assembly constituency, now held by the JD(U) but known as the “Leningrad of Bihar” because it was the Left citadel for four decades, witness to many a vicious battle with non-Left parties.
“Kanhaiya has been with the All India Students Federation (the student arm of the CPI) since high school,” says younger brother Prince, preparing for competitive entrance examinations in Delhi. “I too am in student politics. My entire family is Communist.”
From the R K C High School in Barauni, Kanhaiya graduated from Magadh University. Kanhaiya’s father is a Class X-dropout who used to work in supply of stones. Meena Devi is a matriculate. Their eldest son, Manikant, works as a supervisor with a company in Assam.
“There has been a sustained attempt at saffronisation of JNU and Kanhaiya has become a pawn in the battle between Left and others,” claims AISF leader Ramkrishna. Prahlad Singh of the AIYF leader joins him: \”The NDA found nothing anti-national in Nathuram Godse’s supporters, but arrested Kanhaiya for saying nothing.”