New Delhi: With all Left parties extending support to their unions in Jawaharlal Nehru University, the stage is set for an all-out political battle over the police crackdown on students. They have decided to adopt a multi-pronged approach, along with friendly political parties such as the JD(U), to counter the “growing intolerance on the university campuses and the RSS interference in the academia”.
What gives an air of urgency to their moves is the fact that the name of CPI general secretary D Raja’s daughter Aparajita figures on the list of ‘suspects’ of the Delhi Police. She is a member of CPI-backed students’ union All India Student Federation (AISF). BJP MP Mahesh Giri on Saturday levelled serious allegations against her, saying she was present during the anti-India protest in JNU and was raising slogans.
CPI leader Raja who had earlier condemned the arrest said, “We have demanded that police must be withdrawn from the JNU campus and the university must be allowed to function in a normal way. And who are they to question the integrity of my daughter or me? Let the nation that Raja is doing anti-national activity," he said.
On Saturday, besides convincing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to institute a magisterial probe into the authenticity of the sedition charges slapped against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI national secretary D Raja and JD (U) spokesperson KC Tyagi met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday to discuss the JNU fiasco.
Providing clarity to Left’s stand on the JNU row and claiming non-involvement of its students’ body, the CPI (M) central committee member, Badal Saroj said, “The incident needs to be seen on three aspects.”
First, the group that raised slogans and hailed Afzal Guru on 9 February was not from any of the Left-affiliated students’ unions.
Second, despite CPM-affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI) not being a part of it, crackdown was on them along with All India Students’ Association (AISA). SFI is anyway ranks third in the campus. The Left-backed unions have already distanced themselves from this JNU issue. They had nothing to do with the particular group.
Third, let proper authorities concerned investigate and take action. Instead, the entire matter was politicized by the BJP, after its students’ body Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged demonstration in the campus and at India Gate on Friday. Students who were not involved in hailing Afzal Guru were also named by the police.
“BJP wants to introduce RSS agenda in academic institutions and universities, and the government wants to crush any voice against this. In India, PDP is the only political party known for openly supporting and hailing Afzal Guru. They asked for his body back in Kashmir after he was hanged. It’s the BJP, and not the Left that has joined hands with PDP in forming government in J&K. This is BJP and RSS ideology. The NDA should first understand the philosophy and policy of a political party, rather than saying or doing that suits them. We’ve come to know that AISA or AISF students—as a part of the JNUSU were there on 9 February to stop the group from raising slogans,” added Saroj.
Launching a scathing attack on Modi-government, the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) has termed the crackdown as a “pre-planned war by the Modi government against campus democracy and the students’ movement. It has called for a campaign — ‘Defend JNU, Defend Democracy’—demanding immediate release of arrested students and withdrawal of sedition charges against them. AISA is the student body of CPI-ML.
“Just as Rohith Vemula was branded anti-national and subjected to a witch-hunt, JNU student activists are today being subjected to the same political witch-hunt. Campuses like HCU and JNU are being targetted for raising voices of dissent against the government and the Sangh Parivar. Those who raised provocative slogans had nothing to do with the Left student organizations, as the latter have never supported divisive ideas,” CPI-ML general secretary, Dipankar Bhattacharya stated.
In protest of the crackdown, SFI has given call for a nationwide agitation on university campuses. It is likely to take out protest rally in the national capital.
“Despite being in third position at JNU, the SFI has made a gradual comeback and has been gaining its lost ground by taking up issues related to education and social justice. Due to this we’ve been targetted and ABVP damaged our offices in Uttarakhand and Lucknow. One of our joint secretaries from Delhi University was detained by the police, because he was carrying an SFI flag. The aim of the government is to gag students’ voice by terrorising them. We’ve given a nationwide protest call and demanded to make public the source of the video and group involved,” said Vikram Singh, All India general secretary, SFI.