Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University went on a strike Monday to demand release of the students’ union President Kanhaiya Kumar even as ABVP criticized teachers for supporting anti-national elements.
Kumar was arrested on Friday and charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy for allegedly raising slogans that called for India’s doom and celebrated convicted terrorist Afzal Guru. Kumar has vehemently denied all allegations.
On Saturday teachers and students launched ‘Save JNU’ campaign against what they alleged was a ‘witch-hunt’ against students and demanded release of Kumar. Sunday saw teachers and students form a ‘human chain’ demanding the release of Kumar and that the Delhi Police be asked to leave from the campus.
“We will be on strike till our President is not released. The government is carrying out a witch-hunt in campus. Hostels are being raided. There is a lot of police presence here. We need all of this to stop,” said a student.
While students said they will be on strike till Kumar is not released, JNU teachers association (JNUTA) said that teachers will not take any classes on Monday.
“We are on strike for one day and will then decide on the course of action,” said a JNUTA member.
The university’s vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Monday morning appealed for peace.
“We don’t see any need for strikes. The focus needs to be back on academics. A high-level inquiry committee has been set and a report will be submitted on February 25. I appeal for normalcy. Freedom of expression is crucial,” he said.
JNUSU general secretary Saurabh Kumar Sharma, the only ABVP member in the student union, said that teachers have turned a blind eye to all the anti-national events that had been organized for decades in JNU.
“They have given a call for University Strike on 15 February; we are strongly opposed to it and strictly condemn this behaviour of JNUTA. These teachers, who should show some concern for nation, are in strong support of the ones who are willing to destroy the nation,” he said.
ABVP also said they will demand dismissal of teachers if they don’t stop their support to students.
“This university is run by the money of tax payers of this country. These teachers have no right - absolutely no right - to waste money that is meant for promoting higher studies and research and national unity by openly siding with terrorist’s supporters,” ABVP said in a statement.