On the arrest of JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on Sedition charges: Unite and fight in defence of the Right to Conscience!

Statement of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 15th February, 2016

The Communist Ghadar Party of India strongly condemns the arrest of the President of the Students Union of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Kanhaiya Kumar, in the evening of 12th February, 2016, on the charge of sedition. It is a blatant attack on the right to conscience of an elected student leader and against the right of all students to express their views freely on campus.

Acting under the instructions of the Home Ministry, the JNU authorities have debarred 8 students, including Kanhaiya Kumar, from attending classes. The Delhi Police has issued arrest warrants against 20 students, for allegedly participating in "anti-national activities". The police have issued alerts to railway stations and airports all across the country to catch these students, as if they are some terrible criminals who might run away from the country!

What is the “crime” for which these students are being hounded by the Government of India? On 9th February, 2016, the 3rd anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, a students’ group had planned a cultural event in JNU. At the last moment, the authorities cancelled permission for the event. The students held a protest meeting against the cancellation of this meeting. Kanhaiya Kumar and other leaders of the JNU Students Association participated in this protest in defence of the right to dissent. An MP of the ruling Party from Delhi organised a video of this protest, and then complained to the JNU authorities and the Home Minister about "anti-national" activities in the University Campus. As if on cue, the Home Minister issued sermons how his government would not tolerate "anti-national" activities, and then unleashed the Delhi police on the students. In other words, all those dissenting with the government, or upholding the right to dissent, are being accused of being enemies of the country.

The attack on the rights of students of JNU is part of a trend observed all across the country. Earlier, a student organisation in IIT Chennai called the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle was banned for opposing the economic policies of the government. Just last week, IIT Chennai issued an order that no political organisations or political activities would be permitted on campus. In Hyderabad University, the Ambedkar Students Association was targeted as "anti-national" because it questioned the hanging of Yakub Memon and the role of the state in the communal massacres in Muzzafarnagar in 2013.

The law of Sedition, under which Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested, is a fascist law that has been inherited since colonial times. It permits those in power to arrest anyone who expresses a view that is not to their liking in the name of being a threat to the State. It is an anti-democratic law that criminalizes all dissent. This is the law which the British colonialists used against patriots like Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak. Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades were charged under this very same law. It is a law which Indian people have been opposing from the time of the anti-colonial struggle. The ruling class has preserved this law despite the demand of the people for its repeal.

The students, faculty, and karamcharis of JNU have shown their resolve to unite and fight for the release of Kanhaiya Kumar, and for an immediate end to police persecution of students. On the evening of 14th February, over 5,000 students, teachers and karamcharis formed a human chain of solidarity in the JNU Campus. The students union has announced a strike, and the JNU Teachers Association has announced suspension of classes.

The students, teachers and karamcharis of JNU have united in defence of the right to dissent and against fascist terror on campus, cutting across ideological differences and party affiliation. Communist Ghadar Party extends its full support to this entirely just struggle in defence of the right to conscience.

Release the arrested students of JNU!

Repeal the Sedition Law!


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student protest    Sedition    right to conscience    Kanhaiya Kumar    JNU    Mar 1-15 2016    Statements    Rights    

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