Silencing all critics’ post the February 9 event in the JNU campus, students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar asserted on Friday that nationalism cannot be anyone’s ‘patented’ idea while stating that he has full faith in the Indian Constitution as it was a document which can’t be ‘doctored’.
Speaking to the media a day after he was released from Tihar Jail after he was charged for sedition, Kanhaiya thanked everyone who supported him and alleged that a conspiracy was afoot to malign the JNU campus and its students.
“The JNU row is not a new one. This controversy that has been forged to malign our campus is also not new. Whenever there have been attempts to suppress democratic voices, JNU stands up and tells that JNU thinks today, while the society thinks tomorrow. The media is the fourth pillar of democracy and JNU is a historic institution that is trying to fight for the future,” Kanhaiya said.
Asserting that the JNU students can never be anti-national, he added that he was part of the fight to not let those succeed who use the Constitution as a tool against those who raise their voices for nationalism.
“The Constitution calls for equality, brotherhood and harmony and it is not a video that can be doctored, it is a document written by the revolutionary men and women of this country. There are many who are attempting to create a divide in this country but the sacrifices of jawans, farmers and Rohith Vemula will not go to waste,” he said.
Stating that there was a lot of difference between patriotism and sedition, Kanhaiya said that the Britishers had made the sedition law to suppress the voices of freedom fighters. He added that he condemns what happened on the night of February 9 but it was up to the court to decide if it was sedition or not.
“We will not say anything based on merit. We believe in the law and the constitution. The government belongs to the nation, but it has turned into the government of a party. We need to make them realise that they owe their allegiance to the nation. The way the campus is facing the ire of the nation because of a conspiracy, we want to tell the nation that JNU is the voice of the nation. Sedition must not be used to attack students, we know the meaning of freedom,” Kanhaiya said.
Talking about Afzal Guru, he clearly stated that the Parliament attack convict was not his hero and it was Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula.
“Afzal Guru was a citizen of this nation, he was from Jammu and Kashmir and the law punished him. He is not an icon for me, Rohith Vemula is. There will a Rohith Vemula in every house,” Kanhaiya said.
The JNU students’ union president, however, downplayed a media poser as to whether he would campaign for the Left in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls.
“I am not a political leader. I am a student which is why I am not thinking about it now. I want to become a teacher in the future. First, I will fight for the rights of the students at the University and Bengal is too far now,” he said.
However, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury earlier told ANI that Kanhaiya would campaign for the Left in Bengal.
“All students supporting Left will participate in the campaign along with Kanhaiya. For the first time, the nation can see the power of the youth of Left,” Yechury said.
Earlier, the government had warned Kanhaiya after his release that he must help the concerned authorities to see that activities similar to the February 9 event are curbed in the university rather than enjoying the publicity.
“He is enjoying the publicity, what else is there? The question is let him condemn those slogans and distance himself from that. Let him help the authorities to see that such activities are curbed in the university,” Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told ANI.
“They must study and stay away from politics. If they are interested in politics, they can leave studies and join politics. He can join any political party. His favourite party is now in single digit in the Parliament. Let him join that party. Let him not use the grab of students and students union to take up the cause of Afzal guru, Yakub Memon and Maqbool Bhatt. All these three people are anti-nationals,” he added.
“I am not asking for freedom from India, I am asking for freedom in India,” he said.
“I would like to thank everyone at the JNU. All the people , whether media, political people, non civil society , who stood for saving JNU and those who want justice for Rohith Vemula, I want to salute them,” he added.
In a sarcastic tone, he said, “I want to thank the people sitting in Parliament deciding wrong and right, the police and those few media channels.”