Facing criticism for his remarks suggesting that there was a difference between the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was forced to clarify his stand, now saying: “both 1984 and 2002 were indeed state led pogroms for which justice is still awaited.”
Kanhaiya, during a panel discussion on “Voices of Azaadi” at the “Jashne-e-azaadi” festival, said: “there’s a 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 a difference between riots of 2002 and 1984 Sikh riots.
A day later, his colleagues in the Left movement refused to back his remarks saying one must not draw comparisons between the two events.
“Why should a left leader try to defend the Congress government’s role in the anti-Sikh riots, something that even Rahul Gandhi and his party cannot defend?” AISA president Sucheta De, said.
Shehla Rashid, also of AISA, chose to steer clear of Kanhaiya’s remarks saying that while she wasn’t present at the event where the remarks were made, “both 1984 and 2002 were acts of state sponsored violence and we must not draw contrasts between two human tragedies.”
This is what Kanhaiya had to say:
I have been misinterpreted and misrepresented yet again. There isn’t an iota of doubt that Emergency represents one of the darkest periods of Indian democracy. My organization AISF strongly opposed and fought against the state repression during Emergency. Both 1984 and 2002 were indeed state led pogroms for which justice is still awaited. The current central government is relentlessly carrying forward its fascist agenda using state power, as visible in the recent authoritarian actions against students and all voices of dissent across the country. What we now witness is unprecedented – a form of undeclared emergency.