In a cultural event organized in the name of an art and photo exhibition, portraying “the history of occupation of Kashmir and the people’s struggle against it”, initially pitched as a cultural event, JNU’s “The country without a post office” turned into a massive upheaval for the nation at large. The varsity turned into a battleground as the protest to commemorate the death anniversary of Afzal Guru( parliament attack convict of 2001 who was hanged in 2013) and Maqbool Bhat ( co – founder of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, hanged in 1984) happened without the permission of the varsity’s administration. The event basically highlighted the mess that was committed in delivering a letter to Afzal’s family after he was hanged in 2013. Slogans against the nation and pro- Afzal were shouted inside and outside the campus, later they were termed “anti- national”. The “Cultural Evening of Protest” in obeisance of “the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic rights to self –determination” commenced in front of Sabarmati hostel at 5 P.M. on February 9. The administration was completely unaware of the protest. Stating high discontentment with the anti – national protests and slogans, JNU VC – Professor Jagdesh Kumar told to ANI, “a high level enquiry committee has been constituted to investigate the matter and take appropriate action. The university strongly condemns the use of it as a platform for activities that violate the constitution and laws of the land”.
Today, on 12th February, President of JNUSU and AISF leader, Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested on grounds of criminal conspiracy and sedition for holding an “anti- nationalist” event at the university. Former DU lecturer, SAR Geelani along with Umar Khalid, being one of the organizers against whom six FIR’s have been lodged has been booked on charges of sedition for hailing Afzal Guru. The cries of freedom and right to speech and expression for Kashmiri people took a violent turn. Added to the fact, ABVP took to roads at Rajpath, protesting against such anti – national demands.
“We are protesting against anti – national sloganeering such as ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and other anti-national upsurges. We won’t let this happen. Our demands are to get Umar Khalid arrested and we’re ready to pitch up to any heights of higher authorities for that matter” as reported by an ABVP representative to NDTV India.
Kanhaiya Kumar on the other hand said that he is being targeted for defeating ABVP in Students’ Union elections. “I wasn’t part of the Afzal Guru meet; I intervened only after clashes broke out between ABVP and protesters,” Kumar told reporters. He also claimed that the JNU Students’ Union was not responsible for organizing the “anti-India protests”.
Denying the sedition charges, Kumar stated, “this is an excuse, I defeated ABVP in Student Union elections that is why this is happening. This is false, I did not raise any slogan. They don’t have any evidence,” ANI quoted him as saying so. JNU students’ union condemned the arrest of its president Kanhaiya Kumar saying the students are being “witch-hunted” and police is targeting them mindlessly.
However, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has demanded strict action against the students involved in the commemoration event of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. An event which was organized to bring in peace and propagate harmony all across the nation, has been caused to divide students of the varsity into a battle forum. Rights are fundamental to seek, yet on the basis of what constitution conforms as just.