The march taken out by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) on Tuesday was not only about the row at the varsity .
Representatives from other universities and organisations who had come to support the JNU students raised their own issues.
The protest march, People’s March to Save Democracy, was taken out to demand justice for students embroiled in a row over alleged anti-national slogans raised on JNU campus. Senior Left politicians Sitaram Yechury and D Raja participated in the march along with author Arundhati Roy.
Teachers and students from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) said they had joined to march to say that the Centre was not releasing funds for the university.
“Our vice chancellor has met the (HRD) minister but nothing has happened. Also government’s policy on outsourcing is not right,” said Professor Shamim Akhtar of AMU.
Students from Jamia Millia Islamia shouted slogans for the release of Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, who is in jail in another sedition case. Geelani was charged with sedition in connection with an event at the Press Club where anti-national slogans were shouted.
Allahabad University students alleged their university will be the “next target of the Central government”.
“JNU is located in Delhi so it got the attention and the support. We are here so that our leader who has been attacked also get justice,” said a JNU master’s student, who did not want to be named.
Organisations working with school children also participated in the march.
“I live in Bawana. There have been several attempts to disturb communal harmony in my area. This government is following a certain pattern and we are here to resist this government which wants to sow the seed of communalism in the country,” said Mohammad Ansari, a member of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chhatra Naujawan Sabha.
JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar addressed the participants. Kumar, who is also facing sedition charges, is out on bail. Two other JNU students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, also charged with sedition, are still in jail. The march was taken out a day after the University reportedly recommended the rustication of the students involved in the February 9 event at which alleged anti-national slogans were shouted.