What national pride? Scuffle at court over JNU row marks 'black day in India's democracy'

A few called it BJP's self goal. Others just shook their heads as they read the Tuesday morning newspapers that were splattered with news reports on how lawyers, a BJP MLA and 'sympathisers' thrashed students from JNU and journalists, who were at the Patiala House Court just before Kanhaiya Kumar's sedition case was scheduled to be heard.

 What national pride? Scuffle at court over JNU row marks black day in Indias democracy

The BJP's Delhi legislator Om Prakash Sharma allegedly attacked a CPM activist and JNU students at Patiala House Court on Monday. The party backed Sharma, saying he was opposing anti-India slogans and was hit on the head first, to which he reacted. A section of lawyers and others beat up several JNU teachers and students and journalists who were awaiting the court appearance of students’ union leader Kanhaiya. His remand was eventually extended by two days at a hearing held in a police station.

Now, sample these photos:


BJP MLA OP Sharma assaulting a JNU student at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi. PTI



Image courtesy: PTI



If there ever was a time to dust off that old cliché about a picture speaking a thousand words, this is it.

"Mein goli bhi maar deta agar bandook hoti. Koi hamari Ma ko gaali dega to kya usey maaroge nahin (I would have opened fire if I had a gun. If someone abuses our mother, won’t I beat him up)."

This is what Sharma said when he was asked by reporters why did he thrash a CPM activist in the court premise on Monday. Sharma, who boasts of a close association with union finance minister Arun Jaitley, is ill-reputed for his foul language and violent behaviour. ANI quoted Sharma as saying:

BJP MLA Sharma, whose claim to fame, is his infamous quote in the Delhi Assembly in 2015 where he targetted AAP MLA Alka Lamba and said, "Ye toh raat bhar ghumne wali (She roams all night)". The same man, is now defending 'national pride' and how. The Vishwas Nagar legislator, who flaunts his proximity to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had also attacked Lamba in August last year, calling her a drug addict, after she was assaulted while she was carrying out an anti-drugs drive. Following the incident, Sharma was summoned by the Delhi Commission of Women after Lamba lodged a complaint against him.

Black day in India's democracy

Activists and senior politicians termed the scuffle at the court as a black day in India's democracy.

Varun Chauhan, a friend of Kanhaiya's said, "We were all here and were peacefully waiting for him. There are six-seven lawyers here, who started telling people in the morning that we are Pakistan, and were hurling abuses referring to mothers and sisters. We were not saying anything to them...They also misbehaved with the JNU teachers present there."

CPI(M) activist Ameeque Jamei, who was assaulted by Sharma, said, "They were asking who the people were from CPI(M) and JNU. They said, 'Court tay nahi karegi, hum tay karenge ki deshdrohi kaun hai (We will decide, not the court, on who is anti-national)."

Describing the ongoing scene at the court on Monday afternoon, Basant Kumar Mohanty of The Telegraph quoted a lawyer as saying, "Bahar jao, yeh chairs lawyers ke liye hai, bahar jao (go outside, these chairs are meant for lawyers, go outside )." After teachers protested against the demand, other lawyers joined the chorus and said, "Pakistan zindabad slogan dete ho aap log (You chant 'Pakistan Zindabad)."

The whole court campus was reverberating with one line: "Saale, Pakistan zindabad bol rahe ho. Maro saale ko (they are saying 'Pakistan zindabad'. Beat them up)."

What others said

Delhi BJP’s media convenor Praveen Shankar Kapoor said OP Sharma was not a 'badmash' (anti-social element) and he did nothing wrong.

Speaking to IANS, AAP's Alka Lamba said, "Today's (Monday) act exposed his mentality. He should be arrested immediately and an FIR should be registered against him. He should not walk free just because BJP is in power."

As a result of Monday's attacks on students and media, eminent mediapersons on Tuesday decided to protest against Monday's assault. Senior TV journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai, NDTV's Barkha Dutt, Sonal Mehrotra and Nidhi Razdan were among the few who led the march on Tuesday.

Will break phones or bones, mediapersons were told on Monday, TV reports said.

Perspective can't be bought, sadly:

To put everything that has happened till now in perspective, let's take a look at what Kanhaiya told the gathering he addressed on 9 February:

"What I mean to say is that we don't need the certificate of patriotism from the RSS. We don't need a nationalist certificate from the RSS. We belong to this country. We love this country. We fight for the 80 per cent of the poor population of this country. For us, this is nation worship...Which Mother India are you talking about? If my mother is not part of your Mother India, your concept of Mother India is not acceptable to me."

You can watch the full video of Kumar's speech here:

Updated Date: Feb 16, 2016 14:56:35 IST