Jawaharlal Nehru University student Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested and released on bail in a sedition case, advocated for freedom of speech and non-violent opposition to differences.
Kumar joined Delhi University students and teachers in their protest against violence on campus allegedly by ABVP members.
The former JNU students union (JNUSU) president said he has no problem if people oppose them but nobody should indulge in violence.
“They say Umar will not be allowed to speak. Fine, don’t let him speak. There is no problem. But who are you to impose that. We have been accused of sedition. Judiciary will decide if that is correct. But your police have not been able to file a chargesheet,” said Kumar.
“As citizens of this country, we have a right to go speak anywhere in this country. You want to protest then please do so. But who gave you right to do violence. Take out black flags, raise slogans and oppose, but don’t indulge in violence,” he said, while addressing students at Arts Faculty.
Leaders from different political parties also joined the protest march. CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja, JDU leader KC Tyagi and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav also addressed students.
Yadav told students that the only way to respond to violence is to be fearless.
“There is an attempt to instil fear and terror. There is intimidation with ruling party’s patronage, in front of police. There is an attempt to do Sanjay Gandhi style ‘gundagardi’. All this can be replied in one way which is for common students to come outside in open and say they are not afraid,” he said.
He also said, “There was a tiranga march in DU yesterday (on Monday) by ABVP. I want to congratulate you for that because those people whose forefathers never respected the tricolour, those who never hoisted national flag at their Nagpur headquarters, were made to carry the national flag by you.”
ABVP supporters, objected to Kumar’s visit on the DU campus and shouted slogans of “go back Kanhaiya” and tried to disrupt his speech. However, police, stopped the attempt by ABVP supporters and did not let them come near the venue.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged that “one organisation” was trying to “impose its ideological positioning”. “Since they can’t do it with reason, they are resorting to violence and terror, that has to be opposed by any democratically,” he said.
Raja said, “This is a collective fight to defend our constitutional rights. We will be raising the issue of DU in Parliament.”