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‘Traitor, anti-national and intolerant’: Who said what at JNU protest

JNU protests Updated: Feb 16, 2016 11:15 IST

JNU students protest inside the university campus against the arrest of student union president Kanhaiya Kumar.(PTI)

Politicians didn’t hold their tongue when they commented on sedition cases being filed against Jawaharlal Nehru University students--a controversy which has sparked protests across campuses in the country. Words like “traitor, anti-national and intolerant” were used to describe a JNU rally last Tuesday during which students allegedly shouted anti-national slogans and supported Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Here are top quotes on the controversy on Monday:

Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president, in Titabor, Assam

“It seems only the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have the licence to say who is a traitor and who is a patriot. The president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union spoke about the poor people, weak people, adivasis and development etc. What does the government of India say? It terms him a traitor.”

Amit Shah, BJP president, in a blog post

“An attempt was made to defame a leading university in the national capital by turning it into a centre which encourages terrorism and separatism. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if it would be in national interest had the central government kept quiet? Are you not encouraging traitors by protesting in support of these anti-nationals?”

Saurabh Sharma, joint secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, in New Delhi

“You cannot be an Indian if you celebrate the death anniversary of a terrorist.”

Read: Students, journos assaulted near Delhi court hearing JNU sedition case

Mayawati, president of Bahujan Samaj Party, in Lucknow.

“In one stroke, the BJP-led government has branded the prestigious institution like JNU as anti-national in order to implement the extreme and offensive agenda of the RSS. The arrest of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition looks wrong in the first place itself. Police has made the arrest on sedition charges under political pressure.”

Nitish Kumar, Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) leader, in Patna

“Sedition charge against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar is wrong. He was not involved in any anti-national act. The central government has framed him. Those who stand and speak in favour of the BJP are nationalists and those who oppose the BJP are termed anti-national.”

Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of Indian (Marxist), in a tweet

“There can be no bigger farce than (Nathuram) Godse-worshippers putting out certificates on nationalism.”

B S Bassi, Delhi Police Commissioner, in Delhi

“Kanhaiya (Kumar) was present at the event (in JNU), where he delivered a speech and participated in an unlawful assembly which indulged in anti-India sloganeering. It was because of his involvement, and the evidence we have collected so far, that he has been arrested under charge of sedition.”

M Jagadesh Kumar, vice chancellor of JNU, appeals against campus strike in Delhi

“We also stand for free expression of ideas but I believe there is no need for strikes as the problem can be solved amicably.”

Read: JNU row: When dissent becomes sedition, democracy gasps for breath

The JNU crackdown could be the BJP’s undoing