Afzal Guru Protests Rock JNU; Anti-Nationals Won't Be Tolerated, Says Home Minister

12/02/2016 4:27 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 14: JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) students and others demonstrate outside the office of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha against their Valentine's Day diktat, on February 14, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Over 500 people arrived in the area to demonstrate against Mahasabha's diktat, to marry any unmarried couples found outside on Valentine's Day. Police said about 225 people were detained for now, and were to be let off by evening. (Photo by Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The campus of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University has turned into a veritable battleground with the arrest of a student leader, who was part of an event that commemorated the death anniversary of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru, on sedition charges even as the government promised to prosecute anyone who raised anti-India slogans.

Delhi police today arrested Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the JNU students’ union, two days after a group of students organised an event on the campus to mark Guru's death and allegedly shouted anti-national slogans. Born in Kashmir in 1969, Guru was convicted and given a death sentence for attacking the Indian parliament in 2001. He was hanged to death on 9 February, 2013, after the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, rejected his mercy petition.

FIR AGAINST SAR GEELANI

An FIR has also been registered against Delhi University professor SAR Geelani for sedition. Geelani allegedly held a meeting on 10 February at the Delhi Press Club condemning Guru's hanging.

Home minister Rajnath Singh said the government will not tolerate ‘anti-national’ elements. He said he had given necessary instructions to the Delhi police commissioner to take action against offenders.

"If anyone raises anti-India slogans, tries to raise questions on country's unity and integrity, they will not be spared. Stringent action will be taken against them," he told reporters.

Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister, Smriti Irani, added her voice to the rising chorus against the JNU event and said an insult to India in any form would not be tolerated.

"Today is the day you worship Saraswati, and the goddess blesses everyone so that the voices from their throats are directed towards the upliftment and strengthening of the nation. These voices are meant for praising India, but the nation won't tolerate any insults on Mother India," Irani said.

Following objections from Akhil Bharatiya Vidharthi Parishad (ABVP), the university had withdrawn the permission for the event fearing that it will disturb peace in the campus, but the students went ahead with the event.

Various right wing organisations and social media users criticised the pro-Afzal Guru students. While the Vishwa Hindu Parishad reacted by saying that it would be better to shut JNU down if stern action is not taken against those who raised anti-India slogans, the Hurriyat Conference backed the students who protested against the hanging of Guru.

JNU Vice Chancelor M Jagadesh Kumar said that the incident is a work of the “fringe elements” in the campus.

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