Nitish Kumar, Lalu back JNU’s Kanhaiya, dismiss sedition charge

  • Anirban Guha Roy, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Feb 29, 2016 11:06 IST
Kanhaiya Kumar (C), head of the student union at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), is escorted by police outside the Patiala House court in New Delhi. (REUTERS)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday came down heavily on the BJP, accusing it of hatching a conspiracy to scrap reservations and break the nation by playing divisive politics.

The two leaders were attending a function to mark the 639th birth anniversary of Sant Shiromani Ravidas, organized by Ravidas Chetna Manch at Rabindra Bhawan.

The CM announced that from next year there would be a government holiday to mark the birth anniversary of the social reformer of the 15th century, who spread the message of social reforms through his poems and writings.

“The BJP only has the agenda of creating divisions in the society by influencing people in the name of caste and religion to garner votes,” said the chief minister. He also called the BJP’s bid to celebrate birth anniversaries of Dr B R Ambedhkar and Ravidas as just mere formalities to attract weaker sections to the party’s fold.

Kumar also came down heavily on the BJP led NDA government at the centre for sedition charges against JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, claiming this was done on the basis of doctored evidence.

“We are demanding that concrete proof should be furnished to substantiate the charges against Kumar. But the central government is silent on this issues,” Nitish said, even as he took potshots at HRD minister Smriti Irani (without naming her) for putting wrong information on the suicide of Dalit student Rohit Vemula, in parliament.

“Vemula was compelled to take the extreme step,” he said, implying to the accusations that the scholar was victimized by the University and the union HRD ministry appeared to be true.

In his speech, the RJD chief hit out at the BJP for trying to mislead people by creating a perception that “ Lalu would not allow the government to run” and casting doubt’s on whether the grand alliance government would complete its full tenure.

“They are trying to create a wrong perception among people. But I and Nitish are working together cautiously this time. The BJP had got a chance to come to power in 2014 Lok Sabha poll because of our disunity at that time,” he said.

The RJD chief also emphasized that backward classes had got empowered only after 1990 when he came to power and reiterated his demand for publication of the caste data as per the socio-economic caste census.

Referring to the sedition charge on Kanhaiya, Lalu said the JNU student leader had been labelled as ‘anti national’ as he had raised issues of the poor and downtrodden. An arch rival of the BJP, Lalu also accused the saffron outfit of having bias against weaker sections.

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