The Congress and BJP war of words continued on Tuesday with the former accusing the ruling BJP of suppressing dissent.
Speaking to the media after an all party meeting convened here ahead of parliament’s budget session, Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad said that his party raised the issue of the government’s undue intervention in university politics.
“We raised the issue of Rohith committing suicide in Hyderabad allegedly due to undue pressure put on him by the university administration,” Azad said.
“Here in Delhi, JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar did not speak anything against the constitution or against the country’s unity. But he has been booked for sedition,” he added.
He, however, said the Congress was ready to cooperate for the smooth functioning of parliament in the budget session.
BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad, on the other hand, while defending the police action in the JNU, also subtly attacked the Congress on the Emergency.
“We are committed to press freedom and individual freedom. In fact, several ministers in the present cabinet have fought for press freedom and right to free speech during the Emergency days,” Prasad said.
“But does this mean that we should allow blatantly anti-India slogans in a central university,” he asked.
Groups of students, journalists and teachers gathered for protests in Delhi on Tuesday after they were allegedly assaulted on Monday evening outside the Patiala House court hearing a sedition case against a JNU student.
Hundreds of JNU teachers went on strike to protest the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU Students’ Union president who was remanded in custody at a Monday hearing, which was marked by violent scuffles outside the court where fellow students and journalists had gathered to witness his appearance.
Journalists marched till Supreme Court to protest the attacks on them outside the Patiala House Court. They shouted slogans in support of freedom of expression and alleged the Delhi Police had failed to protect them on Monday.
A delegation of journalists also met home minister Rajnath Singh.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear on Wednesday plea seeking action against those involved in the violence at Patiala House.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi condemned the attack on journalists in the Patiala House court complex in Delhi yesterday, calling it “very wrong”.
“The way journalists were beaten up in the court is very wrong and we condemn it,” Gandhi said in a media interaction during the course of his visit to poll-bound Assam.
Several journalists and students were assaulted by lawyers and a Delhi BJP MLA inside and outside the Patiala House Courts where a sedition case against JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar was to be heard.
Gandhi also took on the NDA government over alleged suppression of voices of students in the country and on the issue of appointment of “RSS Vice Chancellors”.
Amid the furore over an event at the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a startling revelation regarding Umar Khalid, a JNU student wanted by the Delhi Police, came to the fore on Tuesday.
According to a report, 10 people from Kashmir had entered into the JNU campus on February 07, two days ahead of the planned event on the death anniversaries of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat.
(With agencies input)