Jawaharlal Nehru University has been on the headlines in the news and a centre of controversy but, for wrong reasons. On the night of February 9, students were found shouting anti- national slogans at an event in the university and this triggered sedition charges on the president of the Students Union President and protests all over the capital.
What happened on the night of February 9 from the eyes of a student of the University?
“On 9th February 2016, ex-members of a student organisation DSU, short for ‘Democratic Students Union’ called for a cultural meeting of a protest against what they called ‘the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat’ and in solidarity with ‘the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination’,” wrote Harish Agarwal, a student of JNU.
About 20 minutes before the meeting was to start, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad wrote to the administration, asking it to withdraw permission as it was ‘harmful for campus’ atmosphere’, he wrote.
The possible clash was going to be between members of Democratic Students Union and the members of ABVP.
DSU, JNUSU, and other student organisations decided they would not let the administration and the ABVP scuttle their “hard-earned democratic space” to debate and discuss, and decided to go ahead with the meeting, he said.
Agarwal said a group of Kashmiri students came from outside JNU to attend the meeting and formed a circle in the center of the gathering.
The meeting turned into a protest with slogans like:
“Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!”
”Tum kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega!”
“In my almost 2.5 years of stay in JNU, I have never heard these slogans shouted anywhere. These are nowhere even close to the ideology of any left parties, let alone DSU,” he wrote.
Then, on February 12th, Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU students' union president and the leftist All India Students Federation (AISF) leader was put behind bars and charged for sedition. But apart from the anti- Indian slogans, members hidden organisations of Democratic Students Union (DSU) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF) were in the limelight for the following reasons:
- Preparing nude and objectionable posters of deities on their computer and affix it on wall to hurt the religious feelings of the society.
- They mourned the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat.
- They celebrated the killing of CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada.
- They asked for beef in hostel mess.
- They worshipped 'Mahishasur' in place of Goddess Durga during 'Navratri' festival.
The DSF members have reacted strongly to the report. “All the activities attributed to the DSF by the Special Branch are false and mischievous, aimed at tarnishing our image and making us targets of repression. We challenge the Delhi Police to provide even a shred of evidence.”
The Supreme court has refused to hear Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail plea and has directed the matter to the Delhi High Court. The supreme court observed that hearing to Kanhaiya’s bail plea as something that would directly open floodgates of such requests in the future.
The court also told the Centre and the Delhi Police to ensure the safety of Kanhaiya to which the government’s counselor agreed. But it did not went down like it was suppose to, JNU student was attacked twice while he was escorting the police to the courtroom. He was abused verbally, slapped, punched and kicked.
The 28-year-old was attacked a second time when he was kept in a room before the hearing. He was slapped by a "person in dark glasses" who was attending the hearing.