Protests, counter-protests hit states like TN, Bengal, Gujarat and Karnataka
Patna/Vadodara : Protests against the arrest of JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charge spread to more states on Thursday and there were also counter-protests with police having to use mild force in Patna to defuse a clash.
Tamil folk-singer Kovan was among 57 people detained in Chennai during a protest march taken out against the arrest and attack of Kumar in Patiala House court in Delhi. The protesters, who raised slogans against the Modi government, demanded Kumar’s release.
Amid chanting of ‘Vande Mataram’ slogans, members of ABVP, the student outfit of RSS, staged counter-protests in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata, demanding action against ‘anti-national’ elements in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the national capital. Student leaders of CPI’s student wing AISF and workers of RJD’s youth wing clashed with BJP workers outside the BJP office in Patna over arrest of Kumar, who hails from Bihar. Patna City Superintendent of Police Chandan Kushwaha said a group of workers of AISF and the youth wing of Lalu Prasad’s party reached Bihar’s state BJP office to protest the arrest.
As BJP workers protested, a clash broke out in which stones and water bottles were hurled from both sides. Police used mild force to separate the rival protesters, the City SP said. Station House Officer of Kotwali police station Ramesh Kumar Singh said that the AISF and RJD workers arrived at the BJP office without any prior information.
The BJP which had given notice to take out a march from its office to Income Tax roundabout was not allowed by the police to go ahead and stopped at the party office itself. The City SP said the situation has been brought under control and additional police force deployed at the spot to prevent further clashes.
“We had taken prior permission for taking out a march which was not permitted. The workers of AISF and RJD armed with lathis were allowed to come upto our party office and attack us without any prior notice,” BJP state Vice President Sanjay Mayukh said.
In Chennai, the protesters were part of cultural outfit Makkal Kalai Ilakiya Kazhagam, Revolutionary Students’ Youth Front (RSYS) and five other student organisations. They were also protesting against ABVP, the student wing of RSS. They were picked up by the police within 15 minutes of the protest. They were protesting in front of Shastri Bhavan in Nungambakkam.
Kovan, who had already been arrested and slapped with a sedition case earlier for singing a song that allegedly insulted Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, reportedly sang a song against the Central government.
In Hyderabad, a section of students belonging to the University of Hyderabad, which had witnessed protests over the suicide of dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula last month, boycotted classes and took out a march on the varsity campus expressing solidarity with the agitating JNU students. “This (boycotting of classes) is part of national call given by the JNU students. We took march from South to North Block on the campus. Some of the faculty members also expressed their solidarity,” S Munna, a member of Joint Action Committee of UoH for Social Justice said.