Innocents Won't Be Harmed, Guilty Won't Be Spared Either: Rajnath Singh On JNU Standoff

13/02/2016 6:18 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 12: ABVP members tramp the images of terrorists Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhatt and Azmal Kasab during their protest against the anti-national activities in JNU on February 12, 2016 in New Delhi, India. JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy over holding of an event at the prestigious institute against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in 2013. A group of students on Tuesday held an event on the JNU campus and allegedly shouted slogans against India. (Photo by Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

New Delhi -- Despite the BJP government facing scathing criticism from political parties and the civil society for arresting the JNU students union president on charges of sedition, Union Minister Ananth Kumar today said government will take strict action against "anti-nationals".

"The protest at JNU is anti-national and it amounts to betrayal to the country and should be dealt with strictly. Anyone who raises slogans in favour of Afzal Guru and other terrorists, strict action will be initiated against them," Kumar, the Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

Meanwhile, home minister Rajnath Singh sought to reassure 'innocent' students that they won't be heckled. "No question of harassment of students. But the guilty will not be spared," he announced, rather ominously.

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in a sedition case over an event held at the varsity campus. Kumar is a member of the AISF affiliated to Indian's Left parties.

Singh had yesterday warned of "strongest possible" action against those involved in raising anti-India slogans at an event in JNU campus here, saying such activities will not be tolerated.

"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 had said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said the Delhi Police is firmly committed to rule of law and will ensure that no innocent suffers.

"No innocent shall suffer. DP is firmly committed to the rule of law and does not entertain any malice towards anyone," he said in a tweet.

Bassi also said no one should have any doubt that Delhi Police will act without any extraneous influence.

Meanwhile, BJP minister Kiren Rijiju decided to keep the 'anti-national' debate burning.

"We can't allow JNU to be a hub of anti-national activities," he told reporters. The Minister of State for Home said freedom of expression cannot be absolute and unqualified and reasonable restriction has to be there.

"This was an unfortunate incident. But these are not small kids who don't know what they do. In the name of freedom of speech you can't abuse the nation," he said.

With inputs from PTI

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