The recent events in Jawaharlal Nehru University have shocked the entire nation. The anti-toil sloganeering and the attempted glorification of Afzal Guru by a group of students should be strongly condemned. A proper investigation should be carried out into the matter and the guilty be brought to justice.
However, the handling of the situation by the Central government and Delhi police cannot be commended. The police crackdown on innocent students and teachers of the university and the subsequent arrest of student leader Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans is very autocratic. Slapping colonial-era sedition charges on Jawaharlal Nehru University students and the unchecked violence against students, teachers and activists in Delhi’s Patiala House court have sent a message that the rule of law can be enforced selectively. It is very unfortute to see that certain right-wing elements are trying hard to label the premier institute as anti-tiol hub just because they differ in ideologies. Slogans like ‘Shut down JNU’ and ‘Shoot every traitor’ only show how insensitive these organisations and their leaders are.
Moreover, some TV news channels have started their own trial into the matter and have already declared the students guilty on the basis of some video tapes — which are now believed to be doctored, before the charges are proved in the eyes of the law. It has done nothing but confused and polarised the audience.
The definition of tiolism and patriotism is debatable and universities should play leading roles in holding such discussions. The colonial-era sedition law under Section 124-A of the IPC should be re-examined and should not be applied for mere sloganeering. Overall, it is vital that sanity and amiability remain in our university campuses so that the process of tion building may continue.