JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar wore it as a badge of great honour and Umar Khalid, who was released on Friday after spending 25 days in jail, flaunted it too.
They flashed their jail sojourn as a medal of their rebellious-revolutionary zeal. Students of JNU once again gathered at the administrative block to celebrate the release of Umar and Anirban Bhattacharya from judicial custody on Friday evening. Chants of "lal salaam" were once again shouted at the highest pitch possible, and they reverberated in the campus.
What differentiated Khalid’s speech from that of Kumar was the undiluted angst against government, and minimal attempt to create an alibi for himself by expressing his deep faith in the Constitution as Kanhaiya has been doing since 11 February and all the way to his recent speech at the India Today Conclave.
In fact, a new slogan was coined by the JNUSU president: "Jai jawan, jai kisan, jai samvidhan" on 18 March.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave on Friday, Kanhaiya said, "There is no doubt that Kashmir is an integral part of India. And since Kashmiris are Indians, we can always discuss their issues."
If what a JNUSU councillor — without any party affiliation — said is to believed, this acceptance by Kanhaiya is new-found and very recent. This ideology of convenience and flip-flops that is intrinsic to a host of professional politicians is something that the JNUSU president has already mastered.
While opposing Kanhaiya's bail petition on 2 March, additional solicitor-general (ASG) Tushar Mehta said that speech given by Kanhaiya on 11 February (in which he took a vow on the Constitution of India) was part of his strategy to create a defence.
Ram Nayan Verma, a student of the School of Computational and Integrative Sciences at JNU, narrated the first council meeting, highlighting how Kanhaiya along with other Leftist students opposed a resolution to accept that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
“In the council meeting, every member has right to put forward a resolution which is debated and then put on vote. Just after the JNUSU election, at the very first meeting, I put forward a resolution that Kashmir is an integral part of India. The reason for putting forward this resolution was that a section of student here feels and tries to enforce this idea that Kashmir is not an integral part of India. They feel India has occupied Kashmir. This is an important assertion of the politics of some students here. I wanted to set the record straight and wanted to oppose it. All the Left parties opposed this resolution, including Shehla Rashid and Rama Naga — both members of JNUSU. Kanhaiya being the president of the union has the only casting vote. It was a council meeting that continued for six hours till 2 am”.
Verma added, "They (left parties) may now assert that they believe in the Indian Constitution, but they have always favoured separatism in Kashmir which is a grave challenge to the constitutional spirit."
While on one hand, Kanhaiya is putting the jawan on the same pedestal as the samvidhan, he never thought twice before accusing the same jawans of raping women in Kashmir in his speech on 8 March. The current discourse of JNU's Left largely seems to building on hyperbolic rhetoric, half-truths, misrepresented facts and jargon.
Consider this: JNUSU vice-president Shehla, speaking at the India Today Conclave said that the “bail order of Umar Khalid says that the section 124(a) sedition charge does not apply in his case”. This statement was factually wrong. Reportedly no where judgement mentions this. Rather, in talking about section 124(a), the judgement discuss various punishments that the section attracts but states that it does not “wish to delve further in this regard at this stage of the matter”.