Celebrations erupted on the JNU campus after JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was granted interim bail in the sedition case on Wednesday, with the varsity students and supporters now awaiting his release from jail.
University students and teachers welcomed the decision by singing songs, taking out torchlight ‘victory march’, amid beating of ‘daflis’ and chants of “azaadi”.
Many students and teachers hugged each other on the campus as the news spread.
The celebrations broke out first outside Parliament Street Police Station where students had been camping since noon on Wednesday.
Shouting “victory” slogans for Kanhaiya, they marched from Sabarmati Dhaba, which was the venue for the February 9 controversial event, to the administration block, where the protests have been going on since then.
“I have been leading this protest against crackdown on students and branding of university as anti-national and I am glad that Comrade Kanhaiya will be back and lead the movement from now on,” JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora said.
JNU Teachers Association General Secretary Bikramaditya Choudhary said, “It is a relief to see one of the students being granted bail. Our fight will now continue until the sedition charges are dropped and other two students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya”.
Kanhaiya Kumar, a PhD student, was arrested on February 12 in connection with an event on the campus related to Afzal Guru.
Members of the ABVP, the students front of RSS, had objected to the event and written to the Vice Chancellor against allowing it on the campus, prompting the university administration to order its cancellation of the march apprehending that it might “disrupt” peace.
But the organisers went ahead with the programme despite withdrawal of permission and held a cultural programme, art and photo exhibition on the issue.
Five other students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Ashutosh Kumar, Anant Prakash and Rama Naga, were wanted by the police in connection with the case. After being on the run for 10 days, they resurfaced on campus last Sunday.
While Umar and Anirban later surrendered, three others have communicated to police that they are open to questioning, as and when required.
Academicians and scholars from across the globe including Noam Chomsky have come out in support of JNU students and condemned the police action against them.
While there were celebrations on campus Wednesday night, members of ABVP said “bail doesn’t mean he has been declared innocent”.
“Bail against a bond of Rs 10,000 doesn’t mean he has been proved innocent. The case is still going on and he has also ben instructed by judiciary to cooperate with police in investigation. This is not victory for the Left but a normal procedure,” Saurabh Kumar Sharma, Joint Secretary, JNUSU said in a joint statement.