14/02/2016 4:56 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Rajnath Singh Claims Hafiz Saeed Backed JNU Protest, Says Govt Won't Pardon 'Anti-Nationals'

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ALIGARH, INDIA � AUGUST 16: BJP leader Rajnath Singh meets the farmers during a demonstration demanding higher compensation for their land acquired for development of Yamuna Expressway on Monday, August 16, 2010. At Least three farmers were killed in police firing while an officer of the PAC was beaten to death by an angry mob in clashes.(Photo by K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Amid a massive faceoff over the Jawaharlal Nehru University controversy, home minister Rajnath Singh today said the event in the memory of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru had the backing of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

"The nation must accept the reality that the incident that took place in JNU had the backing of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. This is unfortunate," Singh told reporters.

"We should also understand this reality that Hafiz Saeed has supported this incident and it is extremely unfortunate," he told reporters during a press briefing.

Singh said that his government will not pardon all those who have raised slogans against the nation's integrity.

The Home Minister's remarks come two days after the Delhi Police posted a screenshot of a tweet by a handle purportedly belonging to Hafiz Saeed, calling for people outside India to support JNU.

While there is no independent verification of that handle belonging to the Pakistani terrorist, many on Twitter have said that it was a fake account.

The account seems to be suspended now.

However, this is not the first time the BJP government has linked the JNU row with the LeT.

Earlier, hitting out at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders, the BJP alleged that they were speaking in the voice of the terror outfit, which was an "insult to the martyrs" and would "boost the morale of anti-national forces".

"Rahul Gandhi and his friends are speaking in the voice LeT terrorist Hafiz Sayeed who had tweeted in support of anti-India event in JNU," BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

When asked to comment on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's visit to varsity, the Home Minister said that nobody should try and take a political mileage out of this unfortunate incident.

"Whatever happened in the JNU is extremely unfortunate. I appeal to every organisation in the country to speak in one voice if they find any anti-national activity taking place in their surroundings," he added.

The Home Minister told the CPI (M), CPI and JD (U) members, who met him yesterday seeking the releasing of JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, that the court would decide whether further action should be taken against those students arrested.

On Friday, the Delhi Police arrested JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges over the pro-Afzal Guru event.

The controversy took a BJP-versus-opposition colour with politicians, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, making a beeline for the campus on Saturday to show solidarity with the "Save JNU" campaign launched by the students' union and teachers' association.

Even as the demand for releasing Kanhaiya gained ground, the university's own inquiry found eight students, including Kanhaiya, to have been prima facie involved in "objectionable sloganeering" on February 9 and barred them from classes.

Meanwhile, the university's teachers have appealed to the public not to "brand" the university as "anti-national". The faculty members claimed that the internal mechanism of the university seems to be completely "subverted" and autonomy of the institution stands "surrendered".

ALSO READ: Don't Brand JNU As 'Anti-National', Appeal Varsity's Teachers

"Isn't it unfair to brand the university as anti-national which has stood as an epitome of academics and democratic culture? Why tarnish its image by calling it a home to anti-nationals?" they asked in a statement.

Omar Abdullah Wants Proof

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah asked Union Home Minister Rajjnath Singh to share evidence to support his allegation that Saeed supported the protests at JNU.

"That Hafiz Saeed supported the JNU protests is a very serious charge to level against the students. The evidence must be shared with all," Omar said in a tweet.

Anupam Kher Weighs In

Actor Anupam Kher also had an opinion on the JNU incident. He said that the freedom of speech does not mean people have the right to create disunity in the country.

"How can people raise slogans to decimate India in a big university JNU in the nation's capital? What kind of freedom of speech is this, which poses threat to the nation's unity?" Kher told PTI last night.

"You can raise slogans against anyone if you are angry with any government. But you don't have the right to play with the unity of the country. No question arises of pardoning them," the 60-year-old actor said.

He also expressed annoyance over politics being played on the JNU issue.

"Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is stating that he will get the matter investigated from a district magistrate. Has he (Kejriwal) not seen the video related to the incident?" he asked.

Kher said the country is currently passing through a phase which will expose many faces and it will help the country in the longer run.

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