New Delhi: Education Minister Smriti Irani today strongly condemned a protest held at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, saying, "The nation can never tolerate an insult to Mother India."
- JNU students' union president arrested for 'raising anti-India slogans'
- Students held a protest backing 2013 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru
- Won't tolerate insult to Mother India: HRD Minister Smriti Irani
Student protesters allegedly raised anti-India slogans during the protest and a student union leader has been arrested on sedition charges, while others are being questioned.
"I only want to say that today is the day of worship of Goddess Saraswati. Saraswati blesses every family that whatever they speak is for progress and strengthening the nation. Let Mother India be praised. The nation will never tolerate an insult to mother India," the minister said, when asked to comment on the protest by reporters.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned of stringent action. "Anyone who raises anti-India slogans or tries to put a question mark on nation's unity and integrity will not be spared," he tweeted. The minister said the government would not tolerate any anti-national activity in the country and that he had instructed the police to take the strongest possible action.
The police registered a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy on Thursday and arrested JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday evening. The event at JNU also featured an exhibition to mark the execution of Afzal Guru on February 9, 2013, titled "The country without a post office."
The BJP's student wing the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP and a lawmaker of the ruling party, Mahesh Guru, had complained to the police against the organisers of the JNU event. ABVP student activists have demanded action against the university for allowing the protest on campus.
The rival Left-aligned Students Federation of India or SFI has denied any role in the event. The student arrested is from the All India Student's Federation, a student body linked to the Communist Party of India or CPI.
The university says it had cancelled permission for the protest, which was allegedly pitched as a cultural function. Vice-Chancellor Jagdeesh Kumar has called it an act of indiscipline and has ordered a "disciplinary" inquiry.
This is not the first time that JNU, one of the country's top academic institutions, has witnessed events in support of Afzal Guru, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.