Jan 16, 2019, 12.37 PM
After three years of investigation that has involved the recording of evidence from a number of eyewitnesses and the verification of the authenticity of video recordings showing the accused inciting a mob of students and shouting anti-India slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, the Special Cell of Delhi Police’s anti-terrorism wing has filed the charge sheet at the Patiala House Court in Delhi.
The chargesheet names Kanhaiya Kumar, the former JNU Students’ Union President, and seven others including Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya of sedition and conspiracy.
Kanhaiya was in Tihar Jail for two weeks in 2016 in the same connection and was later granted interim bail. Coinciding with the JNU incident, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was party vice president then, was shown black flags when he went to attend a “Save JNU” rally and express solidarity with the students accused of challenging India’s sovereignty and integrity by raising slogans to break the country.
From their posture, it is obvious that the opposition parties have decided to use the JNU campus as a fertile ground to take on the ruling BJP on the issue of nationalism in the coming parliamentary election. Instead of allowing the police to handle the matter as a law and order issue, the opposition parties are playing with fire as they have failed to denounce those who raised anti-India slogans and wanted to declare terrorist Afzal Guru a martyr. It is not a minor issue and has serious implications.
Earlier, there was allegedly a celebration by a section of students and some outsiders in JNU when in a Maoist attack 76 CRPF men were killed near Chintalnar village in Dantewada district in 2010. Three years ago, there was this rally of anti-national elements shouting slogans against India and in support of “Azadi” of Kashmir. This event, organised to protest against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in defiance of a University order denying permission for any such activity, was led by Kanhaiya, who as a student leader has been associated with All India Students Federation (AISF), a left-wing students organisation linked with the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Significantly, the Leftists have commanded the students’ politics in JNU for several decades. It was only in 1978 that their stranglehold had got broken with the historic victory of the 'Free Thinkers' in the JNUSU election. To understand the hegemony of the Left in JNU, one would have to take a close look at the modus operandi of the students’ wings of the CPI and CPI(M). As JNU alumni, one recalls how in the late ‘70s, the SFI and AISF cadres (senior students) were following a time tested strategy to flock around the new students from the word go, i.e. from the time they landed for their entrance test.
After befriending and winning their confidence, these students used to temporarily host a large number of the new students in their hostel rooms; they acted as guides and took them around the library, canteen and different administrative blocks and centres scattered around the old campus.
After that, they followed the strategy of brainwashing and bombarding the ‘freshers’or the newcomers with Leftist jargons and theory to convince them about the "inevitability of class war, and the uprising by the proletariat against the exploiting ruling elite, the capitalists and the bourgeoisie”.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)
Lalit Shastri is an Indian journalist, editor, environmentalist and a wildlife film maker
Instead of allowing the police to handle the matter as a law and order issue, opposition parties are playing with fire as they have failed to denounce those who raised anti-India slogans and wanted to declare terrorist Afzal Guru a martyr.