Rahul visits JNU campus, accuses NDA government of suppressing students voice

World Saturday 13/February/2016 22:04 PM
By: Times News Service
Rahul visits JNU campus, accuses NDA government of suppressing students voice

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused NDA government of "suppressing" students' voice as he visited the JNU campus in the national capital to express solidarity with them, a day after the arrest of its students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case.
The Congress Vice President, who had on Friday accused the Modi government of "bullying" the institution, scaled up the attack saying "most anti-national are people, who are suppressing the voice of students in this institution". Accompanied by Delhi PCC chief and former Union minister Anand Sharma, Rahul interacted with the agitating students and lauded the university for representing free voice.
Drawing parallel between the actions against students in Jawaharlal Nehru University and events leading to the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University, he said the question is why a student is "not allowed to say what he believes in".
Noting that India is progressing because more and more people are raising their voice, Rahul said that everybody has a right to disagree.
Making repeated reference to Vemula's suicide and targetting the government especially Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on the issue, he said, "A youngster expresses his views and the government says he is anti-national. Later the minister turns around and say you are not even a Dalit."
In his speech marked by frequent disruptions, Rahul said that he will be happy to see even people from RSS and BJP express their opinion.
"We respect voices that are raised in front of our voice. We also respect what is raised behind our back," he said.
Training his guns on the government, he said, "They will not understand that in crushing you, they are making you stronger."
The Congress Vice President had on Friday tweeted "Modi Govt & ABVP bullying an institution like JNU simply because it won't toe their line is completely condemnable.
"While Anti-India sentiment is unquestionably unacceptable, the right to dissent & debate is an essential ingredient of democracy."
Kanhaiya was arrested over an event at the JNU campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, sparking massive outrage among students and criticism from non-BJP parties which dubbed it as an "Emergency-like" situation.
His visit was opposed by members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad(ABVP), who waved black flags when he spoke.
Taking note of it, he said, "People who showed black flags on my face, I feel proud that in my country they have the right to show black flags."
Earlier in the day, a batch of ex-servicemen, alumni of the university, threatened to return their degrees as they found it "difficult" to be associated with an institution that has become a "hub of anti-national activities".
Meanwhile, the HRD ministry has sought a status report from the university on the issue.
However, the varsity administration maintained that it has not received any such communication so far.
The university's alumni association also came out in support of the agitating students saying they are pained to see the "attack on university's image" which stands for its democratic culture.
Facing criticism for allowing police inside the campus, the varsity administration said the securitymen have been removed from the premises and there are no restrictions on the movement of students.
However, outsiders were barred from entering the campus.
Kanhaiya was arrested on Friday in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy over holding an event at JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
During the event, anti-India slogans were alleged raised, while denouncing the hanging of Guru.
The case was registered on Friday under Section of 124 A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC against unknown persons at Vasant Kunj (North) Police station following complaints by BJP MP Maheish Girri and ABVP.
The event was held despite the JNU administration having cancelled the permission following a complaint by ABVP members, who had termed it "anti-national".