ABVP members held demonstrations against the protests in JNU in Delhi (PTI photo)
New Delhi: A student of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi was arrested for sedition over a controversial event held in support of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013. Upset by the arrest and the heavy police presence on the campus, the faculty in a statement expressed concern about the "threat to democratic ethos."
Policemen swarmed the JNU campus all day as they searched for more students suspected to be involved in the protest held on Tuesday to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru.
Anti-India slogans were allegedly raised during the event titled "The country without a post office", which featured an exhibition and a protest march. The BJP's student wing ABVP and a party lawmaker reported the event to the police.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned of "stringent action" against the organisers of the protest. "Anyone who raises anti-India slogans or tries to put a question mark on nation's unity and integrity will not be spared," he said.
After Kanhaiya's arrest, teachers and students protested outside the Vice Chancellor's office, demanding to know why students were being treated like "terrorists" and picked up from campus by plainclothesmen. A rival group of students belonging to the ABVP protested near the India Gate in the heart of Delhi.
"JNU has always been a university where there has been a vibrant culture. Excessive police action is uncalled for and has worsened the situation," professors said in a statement.
Left parliamentarian Sitaram Yechury commented in a tweet: "What is happening in JNU? Police on campus, arrests and picking up students from hostels. This had last happened during Emergency."
Last month, clashes between two student groups over a protest in support of Afzal Guru led to similar turmoil at the Hyderabad Central University. The suicide of research student Rohith Vemula drew the nation's gaze on politics shadowing the university.