Chandigarh MP and actor-politician Kirron Kher of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lashed out at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar for his statement differentiating between the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat riots. He, meanwhile, claimed he had been “misinterpreted and misrepresented”.
In three tweets on Tuesday, she fleshed out her anger, terming Kanhaiya’s statement as disgraceful. She wondered if his conscience was dead.
The first tweet said: “Disgraceful statement by @kanhaiyajnusu [Kanhaiya’s Twitter handle] that 1984 anti Sikh riots were done by mobs and not state sponsored.” Then she added: “So many Cong leaders are in the dock for the 1984 riots. Statement by @kanhaiyajnusu wilfully ignorant.” And she finished off with: “Kya aapka zameer bilkul mar gaya hai, Kanhaiya? @kanhaiyajnusu” (Has your conscience died, Kanhaiya?)
Kanhaiya had on Monday, while comparing the alleged attack on universities with the Gujarat riots, claimed that while the Gujarat riots were carried out through state machinery, the Sikh massacre was caused due to mob frenzy. However, he posted on Facebook on Tuesday night: “I have been misinterpreted and misrepresented yet again. There isn’t an iota of doubt that Emergency represents one of the darkest periods of Indian democracy. My organization AISF strongly opposed and fought against the state repression during Emergency. Both 1984 and 2002 were indeed state led pogroms for which justice is still awaited. The current central government is relentlessly carrying forward its fascist agenda using state power, as visible in the recent authoritarian actions against students and all voices of dissent across the country. What we now witness is unprecedented - a form of undeclared emergency.”
Disgraceful statement by @kanhaiyajnusu that 1984 anti Sikh riots were done by mobs and not state sponsored. 1/3— Kirron Kher (@KirronKherBJP) March 29, 2016
So many Cong leaders are in the dock for the 1984 riots. Statement by @kanhaiyajnusu wilfully ignorant. 2/3— Kirron Kher (@KirronKherBJP) March 29, 2016
Kya aapka zameer bilkul mar gaya hai, Kanhaiya? @kanhaiyajnusu 3/3— Kirron Kher (@KirronKherBJP) March 29, 2016
Kirron otherwise tweets relatively rarely, and has posted 10 tweets, including the three on Kanhaiya, in the past two months.
Ever since the arrest and later interim bail of Kanhaiya — and of fellow students including group leaders Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya — over alleged anti-national slogans raised on JNU campus last month, the JNUSU president has attracted a lot media and political attention. This includes some stinging remarks by Kirron’s husband, actor Anupam Kher, who at a movie screening on the JNU campus around two weeks ago said, without expressly naming Kanhaiya: “He is out on bail, he hasn’t come back with a medal from Olympics that he should be accorded such a huge welcome... One who talk ill of the country, how can he be celebrated as hero?”