JNU The Unintended Controversy

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After an anguishing and contentious view of JNU, Akshit Chawla brings you a peaceful and buoyant perspective on it

The Jawaharlal National University issue has been all over the news for more than a month now due to anti – national activities and sedition charges. Let’s take a dive into what the issue really comprises of.

How it all started?
All this began with a simple cultural event called ’The Country without a Post Office’, organised in the campus of the JNU. This was merely a cultural event organized against the “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat in solidarity with the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self determination”. The permission for this cultural event was taken back by the JNU authority at the last hour due to a letter by ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) on the grounds that this would endanger the communal harmony of the campus. The students went ahead with the event against the permission of the authority. This led to protests by the ABVP against the students of JNU who wanted to hold a peaceful cultural event for the 2001 parliament attack convict – Afzal Guru. This flame turned into fire in no time and soon the whole country was aware of this incident.
The Media and It’s Effect
The media wouldn’t miss this; within no time all the leading channels were filled with the JNU news. Many news channels held separate shows and debates dedicated to JNU. Videos were released on social media which alleged JNU people raising anti-national slogans. The papers had a new headline to play with. The JNU issue was completely taken over by all forms of media. Many channels and papers had already started offering their opinions based on loose facts without full knowledge of the complete incident. The media should have been more careful and responsible in delivering the news. Out of the 7 videos released, 3 were doctored and these were openly broadcasted on visual media and social media.
These slogans infuriated the citizens of the country. It was strange to see so much patriotism in people on a day except the 26th of January and 15th of August. It was good to see so much love and compassion in the hearts of Indians just until they turned violent. People started hating JNU and started campaigning against them verbally, physically and digitally.

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Are JNU students anti – national?

Now many questions arise out of this – are the students of JNU anti – national? Should they be punished? Is the uprising of people right on their part? Well, the slogans that were shouted were brutal; they were unlike protests and more like threats to the country. Anyone threatening the country is definitely an anti – national and should be put on due trial. People have the right to speak and question or suggest their opinions but they cannot speak about destroying the country. The slogans shouted were completely senseless, just for the sake of it.

The twist that comes here is that many JNU students are denying that they were a part of the crowd shouting anti – national slogans. They are denying any allegation of being anti – national. We cannot label all the students based on a video showing a couple of them shouting slogans. That’s just like calling all the Muslims terrorists, based on the acts of ISIS. Anyone threatening the country or harming the communal harmony should be punished and hated but only after proper trial and after realisation of facts and figures. The violent steps taken by ABVP or the lawyers (who beat up Kanhaiya Kumar during his court hearing) are completely unfair and wrong. We all have a right to speak but we do not have the right to beat up someone or to become the final judge.

What is Sedition and who is Kanhaiya Kumar?
Sedition in simple words means bringing hatred or contempt or dissatisfaction towards the government by any written spoken or visible means. Section ‘124 – A’ defines sedition and deals with the punishments that can be given. There has been much questioning if the law of sedition should still continue to be or not.
Kanhaiya Kumar is a leader of the All India Students Federation (Student wing of the Communist Party of India) and the president of JNU student’s Union. Kumar was arrested by the Delhi Police and a case of sedition was registered against him. Kanhaiya was accused for the anti – national slogans that were shouted. As of now he has been released on an Rs 10,000 interim bail. Kumar has denied all charges against him on national television and he disassociated himself from any anti-national slogan shouted. The Delhi Government itself did not find any evidence to prove Kanhaiya was involved in raising the slogans. Kumar received a lot of hatred from the citizens during the whole issue because of the incomplete knowledge of facts and inappropriate broadcasting of news.

In My Opinion
I am not a supporter of JNU nor am I a hypocrite who is anti – national. Firstly, this small cultural event was supposed to be a university affair and not a country affair which it turned into due to interference by the ABVP and with the support of the media. This event would have quietly and peacefully ended if the JNU students were given “freedom of speech” to hold the event or have a conversation or debate about it. Well, it didn’t quite go that well. This is the “freedom of speech” that should have been given to them, but they do not have the freedom to shout senseless slogans that call for destruction of India. Why would they do that? Even if you believe Afzal Guru was wrongfully hanged, or that he was not a part of the Parliament attacks of 2001, or that he is a martyr, you can question the government or judiciary, why would anyone shout anti – national slogans is completely beyond my mind.
We have to realise how everything went wrong from the beginning and the result was not good. People have so much hatred in their hearts for the JNU. Well, we should give a thought as to whether the students really hate the country and want to destroy it or do they just want freedom to hold a controversial debate. This cultural event in no time was dragged into politics and media. The students had a lot to deal with, maybe they made mistakes which were unintentional or said some controversial statements but that doesn’t mean they hate the country and that doesn’t mean we should hate them. I assure you they love the country as was said by general students of JNU in some of the interviews. Maybe a small group got agitated and committed wrongful acts but not everyone has to be punished for that. Any unlawful act deserves punishment to rehabilitate the doer, just being violent and having one sided opinions would not help anyone. I bet they love the country just as much as we do. So let’s think again if we hate JNU or if we hate anti – nationals.

 

Volume 5 Issue 10

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