Political slugfest over JNU unites op­po­si­tion

Rahul tells stu­dents not to let ‘bul­lies push them around’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The ar­rest of a Jawa­har­lal Nehru Univer­sity stu­dent l eader on sedi­tion charges snow­balled into a political free-for-all on Satur­day with Op­po­si­tion par­ties liken­ing the sit­u­a­tion to the Emer­gency and the rul­ing BJP ac­cus­ing them of speak­ing the lan­guage of Pak­istani ter­ror­ists.

Cong ress vice- pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi joined pro­test­ers on the JNU cam­pus de­mand­ing the re­lease of stu­dent union pres­i­dent Kanhaiya Ku­mar while vis­it­ing Left l eader Si­taram Yechury said the cen­tral govern­ment was look­ing for ex­cuses to crack down on stu­dents op­posed to it ide­o­log­i­cally.

Con­cur­rent with the po­lice ac­tion ad­min­is­tered by the home min­istry, the Delhi govern­ment ini­ti­ated a mag­is­te­rial probe into the al­leged shout­ing of anti- na­tional slo­gans at a cam­pus event. “There are claims that JNU stu­dent lead­ers shouted anti-In­dia slo­gans and counter claims that ABVP ac­tivists did it. To find truth, Del govt is di­rect­ing DM to con­duct an en­quiry,” chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal tweeted.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit back at Rahul Gandhi for throw­ing his weight be­hind the pro­test­ers. “Rahul Gandhi and his friends are speak­ing in the voice LeT ter­ror­ist Hafiz Saeed who had tweeted in sup­port of the anti-In­dia event in JNU,” BJP na­tional sec­re­tary Shrikant Sharma said.

Party spokesper­son Sud­han­shu Trivedi said ef­forts to give “ide­o­log­i­cal cover” to vi­o­lence and anti-In­dia ac­tiv­i­ties could not be al­lowed. “The way foul lan­guage was used against the Prime Min­is­ter... a group of stu­dents is try­ing to dam­age the dig­nity of an in­sti­tu­tion like JNU in the name of cul­tural ag­i­ta­tion,” he said.

Stu­dents and teach­ers held a pub­lic meet­ing de­mand­ing Kanhaiya’s re­lease. Or­gan­is­ing them­selves un­der the ban­ner of ‘ Save JNU’, pro­fes­sors and for­mer union mem­bers ad­dressed stu­dents.

Be­fore the event started, the univer­sity with­drew per­mis­sion to use a mi­cro­phone.

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