JNU row: Student outfits to hold campaign from tomorrow

New Delhi: Various student outfits will jointly launch a week-long campaign ‘In defence of democracy’ amid a raging row at JNU over an event against hanging of Afzal Guru.

“The systematic attack by RSS-BJP on JNU has escalated over the last few weeks. The Narendra Modi government has defended the ongoing crackdown on JNU on the floor of Parliament,” said a joint statement today by the students’ organisations, including AISA, AISF, KYS and NSUI.

“HRD Minister Smriti Irani quoted an internal and ‘interim’ report of a ‘High Level Enquiry Committee’ in JNU to name eight JNU students as prima facie ‘guilty’.

“In naming eight students in Parliament, she has misused her official position and power to give credence to this highly questionable report,” it said.

The students’ bodies announced they will undertake an ‘all -India’ campaign in “defence of democracy” from February 29 to March 5.

“A delegation of all students’ outfits will also meet the President of India, Home Minister and MPs. A nationwide protest will be organized on March 2 and, the same day, a march to Parliament will be held,” the statement said.

A joint press conference held in this regard was addressed by leaders of All India Students’ Association (AISA) of CPI(ML), All India Students Federation (AISF) of CPI, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) of Congress, Students’ Federation of India (SFI) of CPI(M) and Students’ Forum For Swaraj (SFS).

The speakers condemned the assault on Left activists, JNU teachers, students and media on February 15 when JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was taken to the Patiala House court complex.

They claimed these were attempts by RSS and BJP to “spread a reign of terror against differing voices”.

“Entire government machinery along with a section of media has worked to brand the entire institution (JNU) as a ‘den of anti-national’ activity. A similar modus operandi was used in Hyderabad Central University, which finally led to the ‘institutional murder’ of Rohith Vemula,” the outfits said.

“There has been a concerted campaign of violence, threat and intimidation across country. BJP leaders have been actively participating in this shameless tirade on JNU. This is a part of the RSS’ assault on higher educational institutions, which we have witnessed in IIT Madras, FTII Pune, Hyderabad Central University, JNU and elsewhere,” they added.

The joint statement comes in wake of a row at JNU over the February 9 event during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. Three students, including Kumar, are in custody in connection with a sedition case registered against them following the event.