Feel proud people have right to show me black flag: Rahul Gandhi at JNU

Besides Rahul, several leaders of the Congress and the Left parties, including deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, Left parties’ leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, were present at campus.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2016 01:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rahul Gandhi at JNU,JNU campus,Protests at JNU
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi addressing the ongoing protest of students over the release of Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, February 13, 2016. (Vipin Kumar / HT Photo)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday evening was shown black flags during his visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus to meet students protesting for the release of Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar.

The protestors also raised slogans of “Rahul Gandhi go back”.

Reacting to the protests against him by some ABVP students, the Congress vice president said, “People who showed black flag on my face, I feel proud that in my country they have the right to show black flag in front of my face”.

He also said that he was open for a discussion on any issues with them.

“Anti-India sentiments are unquestionably unacceptable. But the right to dissent and debate is an essential ingredient of any democracy. The Modi government and the ABVP bullying an institution like JNU, simply because it won’t follow their line, is condemnable. The most anti-national people are the ones who are suppressing the voice of this institution,” he said, addressing a gathering of around 2,000 students.

The Congress vice-president drew parallels between the Narendra Modi government and dictator Adolf Hitler’s regime over JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest in a sedition case.

Gandhi said if Hitler had listened to different views, then Germany would not have gone through so much pain.

“There was a person in Germany called Hitler who termed himself as the greatest nationalist and didn’t listen to differing views. Hitler destroyed millions of people,” he said.

Gandhi then asked the students to not give in. “Don’t let those bullies push you around. They are terrified of poor, weak Indian people getting a voice. Question them at every single step,” he said.

Gandhi also underlined the similarities between the Rohith Vemula suicide case at the Hyderabad University and actions being taken against JNU students.

Besides Rahul, several leaders of the Congress and the Left parties, including deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja, were present at campus.

Scores of students have been demanding the release of Kumar, who was sent to a three-day police custody on Friday.

Gandhi had on Friday said that the Modi government is “bullying” an institution like the Jawaharlal Nehru University and it is “completely condemnable”.

Read | As JNU row rages on, Rajnath asserts guilty will not be spared

Earlier in the day, more than two thousand students — accompanied by teachers and politicians — assembled inside the university campus to hold a public meeting to demand the release of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.

Kumar had been arrested on Friday on charges of sedition and the students said their protests will continue till he was released.

Students from various left organization, including AISA, AISF, and SFI took part in Saturday’s protest. “We will go on an indefinite strike from Monday till Kumar is released,” said Lenin, former JNUSU President.

The students said that just before the event started, the university had cancelled their permission to use a microphone for the event.

JNU officials said the protesters had not taken permission for the use of a mic.

First Published: Feb 13, 2016 19:04 IST