JNU row reaches Prez’s door as both sides stage protests

Rahul says na­tion­al­ism in his blood; BJP ral­lies sup­port against ‘anti-na­tion­als’

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

NEW DELHI: A snow­balling political row over the JNU cri­sis reached the Pres­i­dent’s doorstep on Thurs­day as Congress vi­cepres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal at­tacked the Cen­tre and sought Pranab Mukher­jee’s in­ter­ven­tion to re­solve the is­sue.

Gandhi ac­cused the BJP-led govern­ment of crush­ing stu­dents for op­pos­ing the RSS’s “flawed and dead” ide­ol­ogy on a day of protests and counter-protests across the coun­try over the sim­mer­ing con­tro­versy.

His re­marks came against the back­drop of at­tempts by the rul­ing BJP and fringe groups to turn a de­bate on the ar­rest of the univer­sity’s stu­dent union leader over al­leged anti-In­dia com­ments into a mat­ter of the coun­try’s hon­our by brand­ing dis­senters “traitors”.

“The govern­ment wants to crush any­one who op­poses this ide­ol­ogy. The govern­ment’s job is to pro­tect stu­dents, not crush them,” said Gandhi af­ter lead­ing a del­e­ga­tion to meet Mukher­jee.

Thou­sands of stu­dents, teach­ers and mem­bers of civil so­ci­ety spilled into the streets of the Cap­i­tal, from Mandi House to Jan­tar Man­tar, protest­ing a po­lice crack­down at the univer­sity and the ar­rest of its stu­dent union pres­i­dent Kanhaiya Ku­mar on “trumped-up” charges of sedi­tion.

Delhi CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal who met the Pres­i­dent later said ac­tion should be taken against those who shouted anti-na­tional slo­gans at an event in JNU com­mem­o­rat­ing Par­lia­ment at­tack con­vict Afzal Guru, but he crit­i­cised the Cen­tre for fail­ing to catch the “four to five stu­dents” who were in­volved.

CON­TIN­UED ON P8

REUTERS

JNU stu­dents and sup­port­ers de­mand the re­lease of stu­dent leader Kanhaiya Ku­mar in New Delhi on Thurs­day.

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