He's out on conditional bail, but Jawaharlal Nehru students union leader Kanhaiya Kumar shows no intention of keeping a low profile and staying away from controversies. The day he was released, he headed straight to JNU to deliver a rousing speech on 'azaadi' or freedom, peppered with jibes against the current dispensation. On the eve of International Women's Day, Kumar told a crowd on the campus that Indian army personnel have committed atrocities against women in Jammu and Kashmir.
A video clip aired by a news channel shows Kumar criticizing the army for alleged human rights violations in the disputed territory, leading to a police complaint by the BJP’s youth wing for "making anti-national statements".
"No matter how much you try to stop us, we will speak up against human rights violations. We will raise our voice against AFSPA. While we have a lot of respect for our soldiers, we will still talk about the fact that in Kashmir women are raped by security personnel,” Kanhaiya said.
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“During war in Rwanda 1000 women were raped. In Africa during the ethnic conflict, when military attacks other group firstly their women were raped. You take example of Gujarat, women were not just killed but were raped first,” he added.
The complaint filed by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha on Wednesday in the Vasant Vihar police station against Kumar and JNU professor Nivedita Menon says they made “anti-national” statements in the aftermath of February 9 event.
Police has not lodged an FIR but are looking into the matter.
“Despite the submission of an undertaking before court, Kanhaiya has yet again addressed a gathering of students and uttered poisonous words against the Indian Army, labelling them as rapists of Kashmiri Women,” a BJYM statement said.
“JNU professor Nivedita Menon has been spewing hatred against the Indian Armed Forces in public meetings as well. She made statements like it is recognized worldwide that India is illegally occupying Kashmir,” it added.
When PTI contacted Menon, who teaches at the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory at the School of International Studies in JNU, she said: "I don’t believe anything I said was anti-national”.
Menon is also the author of 'Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law (2004)' and the editor of 'Gender and Politics in India (1999)' and 'Sexualities (Women Unlimited, 2008)'.
Kanhaiya’s party All India Students Federation (AISF) maintained that, “he made the remarks in context of atrocities on women worldwide and not just in Kashmir. He in no way meant to demean Army or any other force and he clarified that in his speech too”.
The ABVP which had objected to the February 9 event as well, issued a statement saying, “the judge in her order also advised Kanhaiaya to not forget the contribution of those sacrificing lives on borders. His statement is an attack on Indian Army”.
Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12 in a sedition case over an event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. He was granted an interim bail for six months by Delhi High Court last week.
However Kumar's assertions on human rights abuse in Kashmir are not new. International organisations such as the Human Rights Watch have documented violations of civil rights in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is what a Human Rights Watch report had to say about the role of the army in the disturbed region.
"Indian security forces, which include the army and two paramilitary forces, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF) have assaulted civilians during search operations, tortured and summarily executed detainees in custody and murdered civilians in reprisal attacks.
In October 1992, representatives from Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) traveled to Kashmir to document rape and other human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war by Indian security forces.
They also investigated incidents of abuse by armed militant groups who have also committed rape and other attacks on civilians. PHR and Asia Watch condemn these crimes as violations of international human rights and humanitarian law....
Rape has also occurred frequently during reprisal attacks on civilians following militant ambushes."
(Inputs from PTI)
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