For protesters terming the JNU students agitation as 'anti-national', Pakistan has been a recurring subject of verbal venom. Now, the JNU students have found support from across the border, with a students group issuing a strongly-worded condemnation of the government action against them.
"We strongly condemn the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar (JNUSU), the attack on JNU and extend our solidarity and lend our entire support to the brave students standing against this injustice," the Democratic Students' Alliance (DSA) in Pakistan has said in a statement.
The DSA describes itself as an 'informal organisation of left-leaning students who wish to work with the working class to attain progressive changes in Pakistani society'.
CPI(M) leader Kavita Krishnan, who posted the message on Facebook, said, "They say they understand what JNU is going through, because they are labelled pro-India and anti-national every time they protest against their government."
In Pakistan, student unions have been banned for over three decades, as mentioned in this editorial in the newspaper Dawn. After the Pakistan People's Party formed the government in Pakistan in 2008, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that students' unions would be revived, but that has yet to happen, the article notes.
The DSA, in its letter expressing support to JNU, has said, "We... know well the struggle and cost of challenging state narratives. We strive for the revival of student unions in Pakistan and admire their existence in India, for we believe students of this region are forces that can salvage the future of our countries from the archaic but potent forces of myopia, hate and coercion that have held our countries hostage."
On Thursday, an editorial in the Pakistani newspaper The Nation said, "Merely presenting a differing viewpoint on issues can get one labelled 'anti-nationalist,' as Pakistan knows too well... This is simply because of a lack of culture of dissent, which has been further exacerbated by the rise of the saffron tide and hyper-nationalism in India."
However, the editorial also points out that some people in Pakistan who support the JNU agitation 'might not say the same about Baloch secessionists in Pakistan'.
With the JNU agitation being reported extensively in Pakistan and student groups reacting to it, the debate over 'sedition' and 'anti-national activities' does seem to have found an echo across the border.