JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar refuted on Sunday allegations that he has hired a public relations officer (PRO), carries an iPhone and travels in business class in flights.
“I don’t have a PRO, what is the use for me? Those who are spreading such rumours are part of a powerful force that is against my campaign, which I along with 8,000 students of JNU and others across the country began,” Kumar, who is facing sedition charges and is currently out on bail, said.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president is on a visit to his home state Bihar for two days for the first time after he hit the headlines after his arrest over a February 9 event at the institute where ‘anti-India’ slogans were allegedly shouted.
“I do not even have a cellphone, please don’t talk about iPhone as some people with vested interests are propagating that I have an iPhone,” he said.
Kumar clarified that he was not paying for his visits to any part of the country.
“My visit is paid for by the organisers, who have been inviting me to address them and join their protest. It is simple, I don’t have money to buy a plane ticket.”
Kumar said he has not been getting his scholarship money since July 2015.
“I am son of an Anganwadi worker and my father is suffering from paralysis. I am managing somehow, thanks to help and support from hundreds of JNU students.”
He said that a group of sweepers and manual scavangers in Maharashtra has informed him that they have collected Rs.10,000 to pay the fine slapped on him by the JNU authorities.
“I told them ‘thanks’ and said I will not pay the fine,” he said.
“The amount collected by them for me is an example that people in this country come forward to help you if you move in the right direction for a cause. It is a beauty of India,” he said.
Kumar said there was only Rs 200 in his bank account.
“Anyone can file an RTI to get information about my bank account,” he said.
“For me, talking about the poorest of the poor, poverty, marginalised and deprived people of the country is not a part of fashion. I am committed towards them and their cause,” he said.
A source in the All India Students Federation (AISF) to which Kumar belongs said on Sunday the JNU leader addressed a meeting in Patna with “Azadi” (independence) as the theme.
Two people were detained while showing black flags to Kumar, police said.
In February, Kumar was arrested on sedition charges in connection with an event on the JNU campus commemorating the hanging of 2001 Parliament House terror attack convict Afzal Guru. It was also alleged that “anti-national” slogans were raised during that event at JNU.
The Delhi high court in March granted him interim bail for six months on the condition that the student leader would not participate actively or passively in any activity “which may be termed anti-national”.
The JNU authorities have imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kanhaiya Kumar and rusticated three other students for taking part in the February 9 event.