Free Press Journal

JNU campus row: Student gives eyewitness account

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Indian students hold placards during a protest aganist the arrest of the president of Jawaharlal Nehru University's Student Union (JNU) Kanhaiya Kumar in New Delhi on February 14, 2016. Indian students,teachers and activists are protesting against the arrest of a top university student leader after he was charged with sedition, and demanding his immediate release. AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN

The developments over past few days with regard to JNU row are numerous. While entire nation harboring an opinion over the bleakness and validity of  situation swamping one of the premier academic institutions of country,  a student who claimed to be present at the meeting held on 9th February,  recited the sequence of events that resulted in the arrest of JNUSU  president Kanhaiya Kumar, sparking a huge controversy throughout the state. 

In response to Quora question thread,”Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus Row (February 2016): What do you think about the JNU protest?“, JNU student Harshit Agarwal wrote:

“I am a JNU student studying right now and also happen to be a witness from distance for some events that happened on that controversial date – 9th February 2016. So, that kinda renders me more legitimate to answer this question than people who only know about it through Zee News and Times Now.
On 9th February 2016, ex-members of a student organization DSU, short for ‘Democratic Students Union’ had called for a cultural meeting of a protest against what they called ‘the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat’ and in solidarity with ‘the struggle of Kashmiri people for their democratic right to self-determination.’ A lot of Kashmiri students from inside and outside the campus were to attend the event.
‘Democratic Students Union(DSU)’ is an ultra-leftist group in the campus that believes in the ideology of Maoism. It’s a very small group of very well read students. They are not terrorists or naxals by any means. I have been in the campus for more than 2 years and never have I witnessed or heard of them committing a terror activity as much as of throwing a stone, let alone overthrowing the state!”
Adding further, he wrote, 
“..minutes before the meeting was going to start, ABVP, who consider themselves to be the sole harbingers of nationalism, wrote to the administration asking it to withdraw the permission of organizing the meeting as it was ‘harmful for campus’ atmosphere’. The administration, feeling afraid of clashes, denied the permission… DSU, JNUSU, and other student organizations decided they would not let the administration and the ABVP scuttle their hard-earned democratic space to debate and discuss, and decided to go ahead with the meeting.
The administration sent security guards to cover the badminton court where the meeting was supposed to happen, and denied the permission to use mics. The organizers agreed.
They decided they would continue the meeting around the dhaba itself and without the mics. However, the ABVP mobilized its cadres and started threatening and intimidating the students and organizers. They started shouting cliched slogans like
‘Ye Kashmir Hamara hai, saara ka saara hai.’
The organizers as a response to them, and to create solidarity among the students attending the meeting started shouting,
“Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!”
“Do you think there was something highly inflammatory  and dangerous in this statement? Think about it. Nations break all the time. We were chanting the same slogan under Britishers. Soviet Union disintegrated. Secession is neither good nor bad. It depends on the precise circumstances of the region. And mind you, I don’t support the secession of Kashmir. I claim to have insufficient knowledge of the situation and conditions of the people residing in that region. Hence, I am neither for nor against it. Hence, I have no problems with a group of students simply shouting slogans in support of a particular region’s freedom. They were not planning a conspiracy to overthrow the government and seize Kashmir from India. They were simple students who read, travel and learn about socio-political issues and have a stand about it.”
You can read the entire answer here.