JNU campus row: Rahul Gandhi attacks Centre for student union president's arrest
Several leaders have criticised the government after Kanhaiya Kumar was charged with sedition, while his parents said he was a victim of Hindutva politics.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met with protestors at Jawaharlal Nehru University and was one of several leaders who attacked the Centre after the Students' Union president was arrested on Friday. Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested for sedition in connection with a protest held against the hanging of Parliament attacks-accused Afzal Guru. Gandhi on Saturday said the Centre was "terrified of weak Indian people raising their voices", and that the most anti-national people were those suppressing the students' voices.
Several leaders have come out against the Centre for Kumar's arrest, including Left party leaders who met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and asked for Kumar's release. However, Singh on Saturday reaffirmed that the Centre would not condone anti-national activities. Congress leader Manish Tewari on Saturday said that the Centre's actions was part of a movement against "liberal" and "progressive" forces. Communist leader Sitaram Yechury and members of the Left also joined intensifying protests at the university campus.
Delhi Police on Saturday detained seven more students before they held a protest at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, against Kumar's arrest. The students were questioned at Parliament Street station and later released. Kumar's parents said that their son is a victim of "Hindutva politics" and that he was arrested as part of a conspiracy. They also said that Kumar was a nationalist but he was anti-Bharatiya Janata Party.
Earlier on Saturday, former members of the Indian Army threatened to return degrees they got at Jawaharlal Nehru University after the Afzal Guru protest on campus. The ex-servicemen of 54th NDA course wrote a letter to JNU vice-chancellor Jagdeesh Kumar saying they will be compelled to give up their degrees as they find it difficult to associate with the college, which they claim has become "a hub of anti-national activities", The Times of India reported.
On Friday, the Delhi Police had arrested Kanhaiya Kumar, hours after the home minister said strict action should be taken against those who raised “anti-national” slogans on campus. The university had also barred eight other students from academic activities following their protest, which was in support of Kashmiri independence. An FIR had been filed against the protesting students after Bharatiya Janata Party MP Maheish Girri and the party's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad lodged complaints.