New Delhi :
In fresh attack on the NDA government, JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar today vowed to wage a “direct fight” against “dictatorship” as he accused it of targeting universities across the country and sought support of all democratic forces saying it was about saving the country.
He said those talking about Constitution should allow law to take its own course in the sedition case in which he as well as JNU PhD scholars Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested, noting delivering justice on street was not acceptable.
“You may not agree with my politics. It is not about JNU only. The universities are being attacked across the country. Now our fight is direct against dictatorship. All democratic people will have to come together. This unity is required in the country,” he said at the India Today conclave here.
Kanhaiya said while the question confronting the people today was about saving the country, the whole JNU episode was given a national versus anti-national spin.
“The whole episode has been portrayed as a case of national versus anti-national. The job of a patriot is not to use a black law like sedition against people of the country, against youngsters and students.
“You are behaving with them in a way as if you have become the British and we are the soldiers of Bhagat Singh. If you don’t hesitate to use a black law like sedition, then we don’t have any problem in becoming the sepoys of Bhagat Singh,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, JNUSU Vice President Shela Rashid said the very idea of India which stands for accommodation and acceptance is under threat.
“Since politics decides our future, we will decide our own politics. Universities are democratic places. We need to protect them from RSS,” she said.
During her short but passionate address, Shela, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, said she grew up watching a very violent image of India but JNU gave her the democratic space.
She said the ABVP raises very violent slogans as well which are specially directed at women but students largely do not complain against them respecting the spirit of free speech.
“We do not want to see you behind the bars,” she said looking at ABVP’s JNU leader Saurabh Sharma who was also part of the discussion.
She said since the NDA government came to power, the ABVP has been misusing the political power to frame students.
Earlier, Kanhaiya said the sedition law must be scrapped.
Welcoming bail granted to Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, he said all parties and people supporting democracy must come forward to demand abolishing the British-era law.
Kanhaiya distanced himself from the controversial slogans raised at the JNU flashpoint event saying he does not support them while wondering why those trying to fix his responsibility is not doing the same to Home Minister Rajnath Sing who had claimed LeT hand behind the incident.
“Constitution, which is our only guiding principle, has no use of the word ‘national’ in it. When there is no mention of ‘national,’ how can someone be ‘anti-national’. When someone was not present in that function, how will one know what happened there? Those who are talking about Constitution, they should allow law to take its own course,” he said.
However, ABVP’s Saurabh claimed that Kanhaiya not only supported the protesters who raised anti-national slogans but also raised them.
On her part, Shehla said she never thought of herself as a Muslim, but the only time she felt a little pained was was when the controversy over love jihad, ghar wapsi and cow protection were raging.
“It hurts. When the Dadri lynching happened it pained. When we say that Kashmir is an integral part of India, how exactly is that going to be achieved? It’s not about army being involved in rapes or not. The Justice Verma committee acknowledges that,” she said.
She also observed that ABVP raises controversial slogans such as ‘Khun se tilak karenge goliyon se aarti’, ‘jo Afzal ki baat karega wo Afzal ki maut marega’ and that she would never raise Pakistan zindabad slogan as she was aware of “inequalities” there.
“They also say give one more chance to the rapists of Gujarat. But do we say that they should be behind the bars? No. Because university is a place to say.
“I happen to be a Kashmiri and the controversial event revolves around Kashmir. In JNU I have not faced discrimination. I can get elected to the Union with the highest number of votes without any bias. That is JNU where I am looked at as a political activist first. That is how you can integrate people, not by imposing AFSPA,” she asked.
Kanhaiya also said he was against capital punishment and that he would oppose it even if an ABVP activist is sent to the gallows.