The JNU row took the nation by storm with a series of twists and turns surrounding the issue. After protests, violence and controversies, JNSU president, who was arrested on sedition charges, has finally been released on bail.
Well, let’s have a look at how it all started and what the JNU row is all about:
Event on Afzal Guru
An event was organised by Jawaharlal Nehru University students on Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013. The event was to be held the day after Guru’s third death anniversary.
Posters were placed across the campus by the event organisers to invite students to join a protest march against “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat” and in solidarity with Kashmiri migrants’ “struggle”.
The event was named “A country without a post office — against the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt”. The protest was to be showcased in the form of poetry, art and music.
Soon, the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) launched a protest demanding the sacking of the organisers, kicking off a row.
A “disciplinary” enquiry was ordered by the administration of the university, saying the organisers “went ahead without permission.”
ABVP members have alleged that anti-India slogans were raised during the protest march. Videos from the event were also emerged and showed students raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans like, “Kashmir ki azai tak bharat ki azadi tak, janh rahegi jari”.
What students said?
Students who were part of the committee that organised the event denied being part of the group that shouted slogans.
A student who was a part of the event organising committee, was quoted as saying:
“The programme was a cultural evening organised to question the working of the Supreme Court. It was also meant to bring the grievances of the Kashmiri citizens to light. The struggles of ‘self-determination’ must be openly spoken about. Considering this is a democratic republic, why should dissent be suppressed?”
Sedition charges under IPC Sections 124A (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (acts done by several persons with a common intention) were framed against several students at Vasant Kunj (North) police station.
The university took action and barred 8 students from academic activity but allowed them to stay in hostels.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest
The police arrested JNSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition following allegations of ‘anti-national’ against him. The arrest of Kanhaiya triggered protests by his supporters at JNU.
Why was Kanhaiya arrested?
Videos of protest went viral and Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the then Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi following which the police took action.
Rajnath said in a statement: “If anyone raises anti-India slogans, tries to raise questions on the country’s unity and integrity, they will not be spared.”
Umar Khalid, Bhattacharya surrender
Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya surrendered before the police on February 24. The duo faced sedition charges. The Delhi High Court had refused to grant them protection from arrest.
Protests in support of Kanhaiya at JNU
The arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar led to protests by students at JNU who boycotted classes at the university till the release of the JNSU president. JNU teachers too joined the protest and questioned the university’s decision to allow police crackdown at the campus.
The ‘fake’ tweet
A big controversy was sparked when Rajnath Singh alleged that Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed backs JNU students. He said this on the basis of a tweet, which was later turned out to be fake and was posted from an unverified account.
“What proof is there that it was a parody account? Our domain is not to check parody accounts but to red-flag any incendiary content on social media. The law is very clear on this, Internet is just a medium of communication. Idea was to caution young people and students to not get carried away by such messages,” a senior officer who handles the Delhi Police Twitter account said.
Violence at Patiala House court
The JNU row took an ugly turn when violence broke out at the Patiala House courts on February 14. Lawyers were seen thrashing Kanhaiya Kumar’s supporters and journalists soon before the JNSU president was scheduled to be produce before metropolitan magistrate.
BJP MLA OP Sharma’s arrest
BJP MLA OP Sharma was arrested after he was caught on camera beating a CPI worker at the Patiala House Courts complex. But he was released on bail soon after his arrest.
“As I was leaving the court I saw a man raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans. I lost my cool, like any patriot, and asked him to shut up. And when I turned, he attacked me with an object,” he said.
“The problem of this country at present is that terrorism and being anti-national are considered being progressive. And JNU is promoting this kind of ideology and producing anti-nationals. JNU should be sealed,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi visits JNU campus
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited the JNU campus, where a section of students showed him black flags. Rahul slammed the Modi government and accused it of ‘bullying’ the prestigious university.
He called an emergency meeting after visiting JNU campus to discuss the issues of students. Rahul also met President Pranab Mukherjee over the issue.
Kanhaiya Kumar attacked
Violence was witnessed at the Patiala House courts complex for the second consecutive day on February 15. The lawyers beat up Kanhaiya Kumar minutes before a hearing in sedition case. The lawyers defied the Supreme Court’s order for restricted entry to the trial court complex, putting a question mark on Delhi Police, who remained a ‘mute spectator’.
A forensic probe in the issue ordered by the Delhi government shocked everyone with the revelation that 2 video clips out of 7 of the controversial event at JNU campus were ‘doctored’.
The report also suggested that voices of people who were not present in the videos of the event, that took place on February 9, were added.
Kanhaiya Kumar walks free
Kanhaiya Kumar was realised from Tihar jail on bail on March 3 and received a rousing welcome from the JNU students, friends, teachers and family. Soon after his release, he addressed students at JNU, where he launched attack on PM Narendra Modi.
“Hon’ble Prime Minister was saying, he was talking about Stalin and Khrushchev, and I felt that I should enter into the TV set, tug at his suit and say, “Modiji, please say something about Hitler as well... OK, forget Hitler, at least talk about Mussolini whose black cap you wear [the reference is to the RSS black cap], the one whom your Guruji, Guru Golwalkar had gone to meet and who preached to learn the definition of Indian-ness from Germans...” he said.
Addressing the students, Kanhaiya said, "We don't want 'azadi' from India, we want 'azadi' in India. The struggle is long. The more you try to suppress us, the higher we will rise."