Guest Post by Anand Teltumbde
CPDR condemns the arrests of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNSU) and Prof SAR Gilani of Delhi University by the Delhi Police today (12 February 2016) at the behest of the Home Minister Rajnath Singh on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy for holding a protest demonstration on February 9th against the judicial hanging of Afzal Guru, three years ago.
The BJP Government is completely exposed in using the state power in support of its student’s wing- Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, which was totally isolated in the campuses all over the country in the flare up over the institutional killing of Rohith Vemula. Instead of learning a lesson from this episode, it has chosen to use its fascist fangs in suppressing the democratic activities of students in university campuses.
CPDR does not hold any brief for those who indulge in anti-national activities but certainly objects to gross misuse of this label to suppress democratic rights of the students. In view of the fact that the hangings of both Afzal Guru as well as Yakub Memon have not been beyond controversy, the students’ questioning them cannot be termed sedition or anti-national activity. It is the same fascist definition of anti-nationalism that had prompted the Hyderabad University administration to clumsily punish the five Dalit students which led to one of them, Rohith Vemula, committing suicide. In both, the sinister role of ABVP and BJP in making the university administrations to crawl and police to terrorize the non-ABVP students is completely exposed.
The higher education campuses are not factories to produce inert charge to feed corporate mills. They are fundamentally expected to shape future thought leaders of the country endowed with critical faculties for sustenance of democracy. Analyzing, reviewing, criticizing, protesting, agitating and being alive to issues of national life are an integral part of this process. It cannot be suppressed by labeling it sedition or anti-national activity. Exercising checks on the Government is the right of people that is subsumed in democracy and cannot be subverted by such sentimental ploys. The students who partake in such activities must rather be respected for their concern for the future of the country than those who opportunistically choose to be on the side of the state and exhibit their pseudo patriotism. It is sad that the so called nationalists who blame every evil to colonial powers shamelessly cling to colonial provisions of sedition and other such draconian acts to terrorize people.
In the light of the above, CPDR demands immediate release of both the JNUSU President, Kanhaiya Kumar and Prof S. A. R Geelani and quashing of Sedition charges against them and unknown persons.
Dr Anand Teltumbde
General Secretary, CPDR, Maharashtra
12 February 2016