The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a petition filed by a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) alumnus, N.D. Jaiprakash, seeking a safe and conducive atmosphere in the Patiala House court complex in the wake of Monday’s incident when students and journalists were beaten up by lawyers.
Representing the former student, senior counsel Indira Jaising mentioned the matter before the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and said that there was a threat to the life of Kanhaiya Kumar — the JNU students’ union president who has been charged with sedition. Jaising told the court that it was a serious matter requiring the court’s intervention. Chief Justice Thakur said that it will be taken up on Wednesday.
As the political controversy gained momentum, scores of people continued to protest outside JNU to demand the arrest of those who shouted anti-India slogans at an event on the campus last week. The protesters — said to belong to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal — also demanded the shutdown of what they said was “anti-national” administration of the university.
Carrying saffron flags and shouting slogans like JNU prashasan bandh karo (shut down JNU administration), the protesters said those who raised anti-India slogans at an event organised on 9 February to commemorate the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should be arrested. The protesters also shouted Goli maaro in desh drohiyon ko (shoot these anti-national elements)”.
Clearing their stance, the BJP said the government was not fighting students, but “anti-national” forces. “The fight is not between the government and the students, but between the nation and the anti-national forces,” BJP spokesman M.J. Akbar said here. “The students did not raise just one anti-India slogan on the JNU campus, but many such slogans. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but such freedom does not mean people can support secession,” Akbar said.