Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar was Thursday manhandled and abused by a man, who accused him of being a “deshdrohi” (traitor) and “anti-Army”, at the university’s administrative block.
The incident comes two days after a speech by Kumar on International Women’s Day, during which he said, “While we have a lot of respect for our soldiers, we will still talk about the fact that in Kashmir, women are raped by security personnel”.
The man who accosted Kumar was identified as Vikas Chaudhary. He told mediapersons that he wanted to “teach Kanhaiya a lesson”.
“Kanhaiya has abused the country and the army… He has raised anti-India slogans and supported ‘deshdrohis’ (traitors). I came to JNU to talk to Kanhaiya and teach him a lesson,” he said.
According to teachers and students who were with Kumar at the time of the incident, Chaudhary caught hold of Kumar’s shirt and started abusing him.
Former JNUSU president V Lenin Kumar, who was also with Kumar, said, “This guy was acting suspiciously from the beginning. He was clicking photos of Kanhaiya initially, then he suddenly attacked him”.
Three university security guards, deployed to guard Kanhaiya, immediately stepped in and restrained Chaudhary. They later handed him over to police.
Addressing students later in the day, Kumar said such incidents couldn’t scare him. “You can kill me, you can silence me but you cannot scare me. But before you kill me, think about Rohith Vemula. When you killed one Rohith, several Rohiths came forward. If you kill someone else now, many others will stand up. This is all happening as part of a plan,” he said.
Kumar added that he still felt that JNU was the “safest place” and he did not want police presence on campus.
Kumar also referred to his speech on March 8, saying, “By picking out one statement, taking it out of context and removing what preceded or succeeded that line, you are trying to create an image of me as a sainik virodhi (anti-military)… in the same statement, I am saying that I respect the army. The army that I respect cannot rape people. Do you not have that much common sense? Or do you not want to tell people the truth,” he said.
No case was registered against Chaudhary till late Thursday. “We have not booked him as no written complaint was given to us,” said a police officer.