Indian police arrested a student union leader on charges of sedition on Friday, a day after a controversial event held at Jawaharlal Nehru University criticised the hanging of Afzal Guru in 2013, according to a report published by The Hindu.
“Some policemen in plain clothes came to the campus, conducted a random check at various places including the hostels and convention centre and picked up Kanhaiya Kumar,” said a student.
University’s Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said, “While the JNU community upholds the right to free debate on campus, the University strongly condemns the use of the University as a platform for activities that violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. However, there could be aberrations where fringe sections misuse the freedom provided.”
A disciplinary inquiry was ordered when police received a complaint about the event by members of the right wing student group (ABVP) agitating against the “anti-national” event, even after it was changed from a protest to a cultural art and photography exhibition at the last minute.
Although events commemorating Guru’s death have taken place in the past, according to the Indian Express, JNU registrar Bhupinder Zutshi said, “if once a ‘wrong’ thing has happened it does not mean it has to happen again and again. We had denied the permission earlier too and those who were found ‘defying instructions’ by the probe committee were penalised.”
Afzal Guru was executed in Feb 2013, for his role in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. His family was not informed and his body was not handed over to his family, adding further controversy to his case.
Meanwhile, the All-Parties Hurriyet Conference (G) warned the Indian authorities for taking any action against the Kashmiri students of JNU for holding an event on the anniversary of Kashmiri martyr Guru.
The APHC spokesman, in a statement issued here, said that the hue and cry, which the university (JNU) authorities, VHP, RSS, and the Indian Media mafia had raised against this small event was totally unfair, unjustified, and beyond the understanding of anybody.
“If the authorities take any action against the Kashmiri students, this will not only negate the democratic claims of India but will also have a very strong reaction in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian government will be responsible for all this,” he said, Kashmir Media Service reported.