The opposition mounted fresh attacks on the government on Friday over the arrest of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, whose bail plea in a sedition case is likely to come up on Monday.
The issue continued to generate passions, with hundreds of Left student activists blocking trains in Bihar demanding Kanhaiya Kumar’s release and hundreds of lawyers taking out a noisy march in Delhi denouncing him.
Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested a week ago on charges of shouting anti-India slogans, moved the Delhi High Court after the Supreme Court refused to entertain his bail plea. The high court is likely to hear the case on Monday.
On Wednesday, a lower court sent Kanhaiya Kumar, who is from the CPI-affiliated AISF, to judicial custody till March 2 amid violence blamed on a section of lawyers. Kanhaiya Kumar came under attack that day.
On Friday, a Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital report revealed that the student leader suffered multiple injuries, contradicting Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi’s claims that Kanhaiya Kumar was not assaulted.
The Congress accused the BJP and RSS of “treating youth as experimental guinea pigs in the laboratory of divisiveness” and said raising nationalism “as a bogey to repress students and gag campuses” was wrong.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its related outfits were trying to fit their Hindutva ideology on the nation.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar – Kanhaiya Kumar is from Begusarai in the state – accused the central government of creating an emotional issue to “hide its failure” on the economic front.
“If they have any evidence that justifies Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest on sedition charge, why don’t they make it public?” he asked.
In Begusarai, Kanhaiya Kumar’s father, Jaishankar Singh, said his son was innocent and demanded a CBI inquiry in the case. He accused the BJP and RSS of “fixing” his son.
The student’s mother Meena Devi, an aanganwadi worker, added: “My son is being tortured under the very nose of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. My son has done no wrong.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rubbed it in, saying opposing the BJP and RSS had now become the biggest crime in the country.
Mocking at what he said was a new “IPC” (Indian Penal Code), the AAP leader tweeted: “It’s not a crime to murder, rape or beat anyone if u r from BJP. Being opposed to BJP n RSS is biggest crime now. Centre’s new IPC – rape, murder or beat anyone. When questioned, just say that victim was shouting anti-India slogans, you u will be let off.”
Six Left parties meanwhile sought Kanhaiya Kumar’s immediate release and punishment to those who they said doctored “evidence” to charge him with sedition.
Kanhaiya Kumar has denied the charges against him. The Left said his arrest was “part of efforts to sharpen communal polarization”.
“The truth has now come out that most of the evidence produced by the government was fabricated,” a joint statement by the parties said.
In Bihar, hundreds of slogan-shouting Left-leaning students seeking the release of Kanhaiya Kumar stopped half a dozen trains. The affected trains included Sampark Kranti Express, Janki Express and Jainagar Samastipur passenger.
In Delhi, hundreds of equally vocal lawyers marched from the Patiala House Court complex to India Gate demanding action against “anti-national” JNU students.
They were led by, among others, Vikram Chauhan, who has been accused of attacking journalists and JNU students at the Patiala House court on Monday and causing more disturbances there on Wednesday.
In Goa, the Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) said it will collaborate with Leftist student unions countrywide to combat “a concerted effort by the ABVP and BJP to take control of campuses”.