By Arun Srivastava
It would be purely an act of naivety to look at the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and what happened inside the Patiala court through the narrow prism of nationalism. A section of the academics and intellectuals have burst out in anger and have accused the Modi government of arbitrarily using the Section 124-A of the IPC, pertaining to sedition, that negates the right to dissent, that is opposed to the idea of a legitimate, liberal democratic state, to gag the voice of protest. They are politically correct.
The incident ought to be viewed in broader perspective. Interestingly the Delhi police arrested Kumar at the behest of the Home Ministry and Human Resource Ministry, on complaints of sedition, made by members of the right-wing students’ body, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). According to the ABVP, Kumar was present at a meeting inside the JNU campus organised to protest against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, in which several “anti-national” statements were supposedly bandied about.
Just after the incident the Delhi police commissioner, B S Bassi was quick to claim “We have adequate evidence against Kanhaiyya on basis of which he has been arrested.”
“We have adequate evidence against him (Kumar). I won’t be telling you about the process of investigation and what all we have found out so far,” Bassi told mediapersons. He dismissed reports citing inputs from security agencies that Kumar may not have raised anti-national slogans or made an inflammatory speech at the JNU event.
“What we have found out is that people from outside besides those from JNU participated in the demonstration. Now what was the motive behind this is something we will look into. We are investigating all aspects in detail.” As if this was not enough he directed Delhi Police’s anti-terror unit, to track the students who were suspected to be hiding inside the JNU campus. This is the worst form of sycophancy.
Nevertheless just after eight days of Kumar’s arrest the Delhi Police said, “they do not have evidence to back their claim that the JNU student leader was shouting anti-national slogans.” Even a senior home ministry official indicated that the Delhi Police may have to drop the sedition charges against Kumar because they did not have evidence to back their claim that he was shouting anti-national slogans. Obviously one would like to know from Bassi what happened to his clinching evidences. The evidence presented fails to point to Kumar having actually uttered anything remotely bordering on the controversial.
Ever since the Modi took over charge the RSS has been busy implementing its “saffron agenda”. Ghar awapasi, crusade against beef eating, and all other Hindutva action programmes were launched with the specific idea of spreading its network and indoctrinate the gullible Hindus. But unfortunately for the RSS its actions met with protest from the secular forces. Modi though amenable to saffron mission found it tough to go whole hog. He had to act restraint. The most shattering has been the Bihar assembly election results. It dashed the hopes of the saffron brigade and particularly of the RSS.
After the Lok Sabha 2014 elections the number of the RSS sakhas have multiplied many times. The number of volunteers has substantially increased. On the governance level too the RSS experimented with many ideas. In Rajasthan it changed the Industrial Disputes Law and snatched away basic rights of the labourers.
True enough the only incident that completely unnerved and shook the trust level of the RSS and the Modi government was the return of the literary awards by the writers and intellectuals. It exposed the moral hypocrisy of the RSS and the Modi government.
The only course left open for the RSS and the Modi government was to viciously attack these forces and smear their faces. JNUSU meeting provided them with the opportunity they were awaiting for impatiently. RSS is master of spreading falsehood. They have expertise and mechanism. The saffron brigade has planned it before hand. Else there was no reason for the Delhi BJP MLA to be present there and lead the marauders. Their desperation and audacity could be gauged from his assertion, “ I would have shot him if I had gun”.
It would not be exaggeration to say that Bassi implemented the Sangh’s action programme by not obeying the directives of the Supreme Court. Quite angry at the behaviour of some lawyers the Supreme Court Wednesday made Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi “personally responsible” for the safety of the student leader who has been booked in a sedition case. The bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Abhay M Sapre had to step in twice during the day to make sure “no harm is caused” to Kanhaiya, lawyers and journalists, and sought an explanation from the Delhi Police on reports that Kanhaiya was assaulted. Unfortunately even after this Kanhaiya as assaulted inside the court by goons.
Curiously the Delhi Police had told the court that the students of JNU and journalists were beaten up a group of men dressed as lawyers at the Patiala court. Obviously the question arises what action did the police take against those people? The Delhi police even failed to protect the five lawyer team constituted by the Supreme Court when they went to the court to find out the fact. The team told the apex court that they too were abused and called names and flower pots, bottles and pebbles were thrown at them at Patiala House Courts.
Little doubt the plot was hatched by the Sangh was explicit from the way home minister Rajnath Singh portrayed incident. He had alleged that the event at the JNU had the support of Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed, triggering a rebuttal that led to an attack on the CPM headquarters in the capital. Referring to the February 9 event Rajnath had said: “LeT chief Hafiz Saeed has supported what happened in JNU. This reality should be understood by the nation. This is very unfortunate.” His claim was however not supported by the intelligence agencies. Even one of them denied that he had fed the minister with this message. The Union government’s response to the recent developments at Jawaharlal Nehru University betrays a disquieting intent to create an atmosphere of fear amongst its students and teachers.
Obviously it smacked of a deep design. Now the party intends to raise the JNU row “very aggressively” in Parliament as it believes that there is no reason for the party to be “defensive” about the development and there is support for its stand on the issue among the masses.
JNU Row and Modi’s Government
By Arun Srivastava