New Delhi: JNU students on Wednesday marched to Parliament demanding repeal of the sedition law and enactment of a Rohith Act to end caste based discrimination in educational institutions.
The students began their march from Mandi House around noon. They shouted slogans against the government over handling of the row at JNU and were stopped by police near Parliament Street police station where they camped for rest of the evening.
"Sedition is a very archaic law and imposing them upon students for a campus debate is just splitting the hair too much. Academicians across the globe believe that there is no place for such laws in a democracy, this should go. We appeal the government to repeal it," JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora said, while addressing the agitating students.
"We also demand that the government formulates a Rohith Vemula Act to end caste based discrimination in educational institutions," she added.
The march was joined by students and teachers from universities across Delhi including DU, Jamia and Ambedkar University.
Families of Rohith Vemula, dalit research scholar who was found hanging in Hyderabad University hostel as well as JNU student Umar Khalid who is in custody in a sedition case, were also present at the march.
Addressing the gathering Umar Khalid's father Syed Qasim Ilyas said, "our kind of nationalism teaches human beings to love each other. They will not understand our idea of nationalism".
Umar's sister Kulsum Fatima narrated how she is sick of hiding ever since the incident happened and how government "chose to target him" considering his "popularity" among JNU students.
Zee News producer Vishwa Deepak and former ABVP member Pradeep Narwal who had resigned from their respective organisations over the JNU row also addressed the rally and were greeted with loud cheers.
CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, said, "sedition is like a badge of honour if the charge is applicable to those who raise their voices of dissent. Our leaders have been threatened, allegations have been raised on our party being 'seditious' but we take it all with pride if that is what costs to not accept their definition of nationalism".
The agitators keenly waited for the Delhi High Court's order on Kanhaiya's bail plea.
Kanhaiya, was arrested on February 12 in a sedition case in connection with an event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
He was on Wednesday granted interim bail for six months by the Delhi High Court which said that he has to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and has to present himself before the investigators as and when required.