Students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University have refused to attend classes on Monday in protest against the arrest of their student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition over an event held in support of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
The agitated students also demand that Home Minister Rajnath Singh should immediately withdraw his statement where he links JNU protests with 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
Meanwhile on Monday, teachers of 40 Central Universities came out in support of their counterparts and students in JNU protesting the arrest of the varsity’s students union president in a sedition case.
Students of pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who were supported by JNU students in their protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, also expressed solidarity with the agitators and accused the government of harassing and threatening those who dare to oppose its ideology.
Nandita Narain, President of Federation of Central University Teachers Association (FEDCUTA), said teachers’ bodies of 40 central universities, including Hyderabad University, have extended support to the agitation by the students and the teaching community of JNU.
“The event could be in bad taste but was not seditious. Whatever opposition the students have is against the present government and not against the Constitution. This kind of police action against the students on the pretext of national security is uncalled for,” Narain said.
“JNU has stood for excellence over decades, its students have always raised their voice whenever there has been any issue in varsities across the country…be it Rohith Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad university or the FTII row. It’s time we stand by them,” she added.
A faculty of Ambedkar University said, “Today it is JNU, tomorrow it could be any other university. Any voice of dissent being branded as anti-national is dangerous for any educational institution or community at large. No university should allow such indiscriminate raids on student hostels.”
Harishankar Nachimuthu, the president of Students Association, FTII, in a statement said, “We express our solidarity with the JNU students and condemn the random arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy and demand his immediate release.”
“The current government had not learnt anything from the tragic death of Rohith Vemula and is continuing with the vilification, harassment and threat to those who dare to oppose its ideology,” he added.
JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested earlier this week in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy registered over holding of the event at the varsity during which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.
(With PTI inputs)