The Jawaharlal Nehru University is brimming with confidence now, a month since it became the eye of the sedition storm which saw the arrest of students, including union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, under the colonial era law.
“A month ago everyone in JNU was scared and there was a sense of fear that anybody could be picked up for merely being present at the event. But after a month of struggle, we are more confident, said a PhD student who didn’t want to be named.
The student said teachers and students from across the world expressed solidarity with them.
Conversations at the campus dhabas and over cups of tea have changed — from being worried about the Centre’s crackdown on JNU to discussing students’ next move to counter negative perception about the university.
“No one in JNU will support the kind of slogans that were raised by some people that day. But it was wrong on the part of police, media and some politicians to label entire JNU as anti-national,” said an MA student on condition of anonymity.
On February 9, anti-national slogans were allegedly raised at an event organised to mark the death anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
“But you see the kind of support we got in the two marches that were organized by JNUSU. Even my friends from Delhi University and Jamia came for it,” the MA student said
Students said the support from various sections, including academics and activists, helped the university continue their struggle.
“It took some time but now everyone knows how fake videos were circulated to discredit JNU. People are realising what’s right and that is why we have support pouring. We are confident of winning this fight,” said Rahila Sumbul, AISF member.
Former JNUSU president Lenin said, “We have overcome the initial fear but we still have a long struggle to fight. Our protest will continue till we win.”
However, some students expressed dismay at the teachers’ support for students who allegedly raised anti-national slogans.
ABVP JNU unit president Alok said, “It was shocking to see the way a section of teachers have come out to save those who organised the event... They are now doing propaganda by conducting nationalism classes. We want judiciary to punish those involved in the event,” he said.
The ABVP, affiliated to the BJP, is on the other side of the line in the JNU row.