The incidents at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for the past few days have rocked the nation with the students protesting in the capital against the sedition charges and consequent arrest of the student union president Kanhaiya Kumar sparking furore along the length and breadth of the country.
The hostile and shameful happenings in the capital related to the JNU issue has provided an opportunity for the new generation to witness the re-emergence of the violent and heinous ideologies and their brutalities unleashed in history like Fascism and Nazism. Kumar along with five other students at the JNU were charged with sedition and arrested after they were alleged to be engaged in anti-national sloganeering during an event organized in the campus on February 9, the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, to protest against his judicial killing. Afzal Guru was the main convict in the Parliament attack case. The belligerence of the Modi government that took the initiative for the arrest of the students and the Hindutwa forces that provoked the move, in the court premises for the past 3-4 days are shocking to those who believe in democracy and judiciary. The central government is struggling to resist the fury and the vehement protests triggered by Kumar’s arrest. The incidents in the Supreme Court and the Patiala House Court premises were the consequences of giving a free rein to the mercenaries of the Sangh Parivar to challenge the law as well as the judiciary and to disrupt the functioning of the courts when the Modi government tried to implement the agenda of Sangh Parivar using the police. A group of lawyers assaulted Kumar inside the court and beat up the journalists who were at the scene to cover the events while the police stood as silent spectators adding to the shock.
The future of democracy in the country is visibly at stake. It was the democrats including senior journalists who, prompted by the brazenness of the lawyers, urged the apex court to intervene in the matter and take action. The court had directed to limit the number of people inside the premises and also to take stringent measures to avoid violence inside the court. But a mob in lawyers’ robes on Wednesday acted like goons and brutally attacked the student union leader despite the warnings of the Supreme Court. They also attacked a group of six senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan who were entrusted by the court to report on the situation in Patiala House courts, hurling verbal abuses and sharp edged flower pots at them. The tentacles of Fascism are seemingly gripping the society at a rapid rate. The JNU row has grabbed the headlines across the world as well. Eminent academicians, scientists and writers from across the world including Noam Chomsky and Orhan Pamuk, have written condemning the arrest of Kumar and expressing solidarity with the protesting students and faculty. The statement condemns the imposition of sedition charges on students based on the colonial laws stating that it was an evidence of the present government’s ‘deeply authoritarian nature, intolerant of any dissent". Prime Minister Modi continues to maintain his meaningful silence and cold indifference despite the shameful happenings, inefficiency of the police and a troubled law and order situation in the capital.
It’s the silence of the government and its ministers that encourages the police to move ahead fearlessly. Even while the Home ministry admits that charging Kumar with sedition was an act of ‘over enthusiasm’ of the police, raids in neighbouring states to hunt down ‘anti-nationals’ and arrests are being continued with the agenda of establishing that the JNU incidents were part of conspired anti-national activities. The ultimate goal of the right-wing forces is to establish that campuses including JNU have turned into a hub of anti-national activities and external anti-India forces play behind them thereby destroying the autonomy of the universities and the free thinking of the students. A resilient and effective opposition in the path of democracy against the current anarchy is therefore essential.