Kashmir and Afzal Guru: Hindutva patriotism and sedition!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Students in India seem to be increasingly losing their right to dissent as the BJP ruled India’s Hindutva central government is readily intolerant – more as a pure political gimmick than a real setting. The Modi government backs all “Hindutva steps” but PM Modi himself does not talk about it openly, deliberately creating an ambiguity in the public.
Today, the RSS-BJP duo has an important agenda to take care of. It wants the Modi government to return to power again after the next parliamentary poll unlike Vajpayee team that failed to come back to power after the term. Suffronization of India is certainly their aim and it working hard to make the JNU campus, which is now in the hands of left moment, fully saffronized.
RSS possibly believes that BJP lost the polls to UPA because of Vajpayee’s statesmanship instead of propagating Hindutva moorings more forcibly and they argue that BJP should purse Hindutva objectives while being in office so that Hindus do not think BJP being another pseudo secular party like Congress , Samajwadi Party etc – also essentially Hindu parties.
Hence BJP and RSS are still aggressively arrogant and intolerant.
JNU is an international university meant to promote many very high ideals of life, as envisioned by Jawaharlal Nehru. But the new Hindutva BJP/NDA dispensation slaps sedition charges of British Raj on students who try to speak the truth. RSS asks students and others not to speak truth if that exposes government’s anti-people and anti-human policies. An open, tolerant, and democratic society is inextricably linked to the freedoms of thought and expression cultivated by universities in India and abroad. JNU is long valued for its critical imagination and critical scholarship, which have been nurtured by the plurality of political beliefs and activism on its campus.
RSS zealots think it is time to impose their will on Indians. Sooner than Modi assumed as PM of India, they also began implementing Hindutva laws on their own and began with public Ghar wapsi dramas. In cow slaughter issue, the central government has trespassed into the rights of the state government. Since most leaders of RSS and BJP are vegetarians they also insist their own food preferences on those who eat non vegetarian foods. Now they are harping on “swach (clean )campus” campaign by creating tensions on JNU, trying to make it a Hindutva zone.
Simultaneously, the RSS-BJP people want to equate RSS with paid military patriotism and punish those who are unwilling to respect RSS laws as Indian laws. Those who are not with BJP are seen as punishable anti-BJP lot and they threaten to slap sedition laws on those who do not say things in hard core RSS ways.
Viewing secular India as a Hindutva state to be ruled by select Hindus, RSS/BJP simultaneously targets Muslims, Pakistan and Babri Mosque as the key easy sources to expand their Hindu vote banks. The Hindutva agenda focusing on these profitable issues has been successful as the BJP led Hindutva parties have come to power in India and several provisional states. ESS is looking around for more issues to maintain the a party hold over Hindus.
Much water has flowed under the Yamuna bridge — dirty though — since the February 9 ‘cultural’ event inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, against what the organizers called the ‘judicial killing’ of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. That this snowballed into a major controversy is a reflection of the times we live in. With horror, one witnessed Kanhaiya Kumar, a student leader, getting arrested under the colonial-era sedition law, while the police are looking for other student organizers of the event where ‘anti-India’ and ‘pro-Pakistan’ slogans were allegedly raised.
Many RSS trained BJP leaders like Subramanian Swamy are focused on the matter of suffronization of JNU campus. For Indian regime the hanging of Afzal Guru is a closed chapter and state crimes is legalized. Any talk about illegality or impropriety in the hanging cannot be tolerated by government because it wants to keep the Hindu voters in good humors. In fact the Congress government, unwilling to lose votes to BJP, also played into RSS anti-Muslim muse willingly.
Moreover, after giving him all hopes of acquittal for the crime he possibly did not commit Indian regime played mischief with Afzal and his family by hanging him. Indian government justifies everything – occupation, crimes and the Afzal hanging. And, of course government’s refusal to hand over the dead body of Afzal to his family members. ..
BJP arrested Kashmiri Afzal Guru to insult Kashmiris for fighting for sovereignty and terrorizing Muslim in India main. In fact, the BJP government created the atmosphere for terror attack by switching off the CV links just before the attack or the intelligence hides the truth. .
Development of any nation in any respect makes sense only when all sections of the society gets equal benefits and equal justice is delivered by and the government. Conversely, if a section or weaker section or minority people are the target of the state or of if they are denied justice that amounts to country’s bad fate and destruction- no matter how developed economically a nation becomes. For the affected people development becomes destruction (barbadi)
Those who enjoy the fruits of development and those who are denied all benefits do not have the same mindset while those who swallow the shares of meek sections continue to yearn for more.
Today Indian common people suffer due to intolerant behavior of the Modi government towards any criticism of Hindutva political games. Indian fascism and has even overtaken the Israeli variety is and spreading its jaws wide and far- starting from Ghar vapsi to student “moo banth” (shat the mouths) to anything that is seen as neutral. Hindutva insists only one view – the Hindutva view and anyone who does not toe this line is called a traitor and the sedition law would take care of them with harsh punishments. .
Having come up on issues like Muslims, Islam, Babri Mosque and of course Pakistan etc, the Hindutva parties led by BJP and guided by RSS do not wish to get rid of those devilish communal tricks that divide the nation. .
When some Indians criticize military genocides in Gujarat and Kashmir, targeting Muslims there, government makes strenuous efforts to threaten them with sedition laws. India invaded and incorporated neighboring Kashmir into Indian constitution but Kashmiris do not accept Indian misrule there, killing Muslims. Indian intelligence and corporate media lords try to target those who oppose illegal Indian occupation and crimes in Kashmir are called traitors because they refuse to share the military shame in Kashmir.
These days military experts occupy the debating tables of TV channels to attack any opposition to military crimes in Kashmir or elsewhere and “recommend” the government to slap sedition laws on them so that Indians think as the RSS wants and say only the government views.
Indian government has arrested the JNU student Union president a, among others and put them in Tihar jail in New Delhi.
A major protest against the JNU row and against the arrests was organised in the city last week where a large number of students, academia, intellectuals and rights activists had participated. In the second such protest in less than a week, thousands of students from various universities across the country took to the streets in the national capital on February 23 demanding justice for Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and protesting the JNU crisis. The students marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in central Delhi’s Jandewalan to Jantar Mantar, the capital’s protest hotspot, where they were first joined by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and then by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The protesters, including hundreds of students from University of Hyderabad and Osmania University, raised Ambedkarite slogans and demanded justice for Vemula, alleging that the Centre was responsible for his suicide. Students from universities in the national capital, such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Milia university and Ambedkar University, joined the march condemning the police action in JNU while demanding immediate release of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. Vemula’s mother Radhika and brother Raja also participated in the march. In his address, Rahul mounted a shrill attack on the Modi government and RSS, accusing them of crushing voices of dissent of college and university students across the country. He also pitched for a law to protect them from “discrimination” and “suppression”.
Accusing the Centre of muzzling the voice of students across universities in the country if they differ with ideology of RSS, Rahul said Congress will fight for bringing a law to check such “suppression”. He alleged that government was trying to suppress not only the youths but also the Adivasis, Dalits and other weaker sections.
In his address, Kejriwal said the Centre was at “war” with the students of the country and asked the Prime minister to “mend his ways”. Otherwise, he said, students will “teach him a lesson”. “If Modiji does not mend ways then very soon the youth and students will come together to teach him a lesson,” Kejriwal said, adding “I had said earlier, ‘Modiji students se pange mat lena’ (don’t mess with students). Otherwise they will rock your government and you won’t have a clue,” he said, amid loud cheers.
Afzal Guru was promptly hanged by secular Indian government on the basis of an investigation by Hindutva minded people approved by the judiciary and upheld by Indian president. State crimes are lawful and the Afzal Guru matter, like the occupation of Kashmir as well as genocides of Kashmir Muslims by military is officially closed. ‘My son is not a traitor’. This is what Dr SQR Ilyas, the father of Umer Khalid had to say. Umer Khalid has been accused of being part of the protests at the JNU in which anti India slogans are alleged to have been shouted. His father Dr Ilyas wants to set the record straight. I am completely opposed to anyone raising anti India slogans, Dr Ilyas says. My son is not a traitor. He has in the past raised some very valid points. He has fought for the rights of farmers and tribals. He has taken part in several protests at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. He will never raise anti India slogans. In this interview with OneIndia, Dr Ilyas says that while raising anti India slogans needs to be condemned, the police must also probe who raised them. In the past few days there have been reports in the media about Umer Khalid that he was associated with some groups in Kashmir and also the DSU, a pro naxal union in the JNU.
I agree that he has gone there for academic purpose. However there is no harm in raising issues which affect the common man or the poor. Has anyone created a conducive atmosphere for him to come out in the open? Just look at what happened at the Patiala House Court. With such violence who will have the confidence to come out in the open. Moreover there is a full-fledged media trial against him.
After the February 9 incident where some “anti-India slogans” were allegedly raised, police is believed to have collected the names of Kashmiri students which sound similar to the names of the organizers of the Guru event. On Feb 21, students from Kashmir, whose numbers have been increasing at Jawaharlal Nehru University, are a scared lot today after the row over an event on its campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as police have been quietly approaching them in their rented accommodations and subjecting them to questioning. ‘I woke up to two policemen knocking at my door earlier this week. They asked objectionable questions. ‘They asked me whether I was present there on February 9? Why did I attend the programme and much more. They even asked for my passport and other ID proof,’ said a female JNU Kashmiri student who resides in south Delhi. JNU students union Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora, the first Kashmiri girl to be elected to the JNU students’ body, said, ‘Fearing a witch-hunt in the aftermath of the event, some students have gone back to their homes in Kashmir till normalcy returns on campus. I have been told that random checks have been conducted in Malviya Nagar and Munirka targeting Kashmiri students.
Umar Khalid, a young man, who is being linked with terror organisations and questioned on the basis of his religious identity, is a hardcore communist, does not believe in any religion. He has always stood up for various causes, be it for the Dalit cause, gender issues or the Kashmir cause. In his own words, he believes in the Kashmir cause and has always stood up for the people of Kashmir. A PhD student at School of Social Sciences at JNU, Umar has been a part of the vibrant culture of the university for the last four years. In these years, he has organised and been part of debates and discussions on all kind of issues, including the ones that make others uncomfortable. According to a friend, like all true communists, he is no supporter of Pakistan and believes that the State is just an organ of class rule to his communist eyes,” a friend of Umar’s wrote on Facebook. The event on Afzal Guru at the JNU campus was also organised by him. His name was also mentioned in the posters that were displayed on the walls of the campus.
An event marking the death anniversary of Afzal Guru had been happening on the campus since three years. Five students, including Umar and Anirban, accused of sedition in connection with an event organised in JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, had returned to the university on Sunday night after remaining untraceable for several days. The Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), which Umar was a part of, but had resigned from last year, had been organizing this event all these years. He comes from a middle class family in Delhi and was born and raised here. JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, facing charges of sedition as well as a lookout notice issued by the Delhi Police, moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking their protection before they surrender in the case, in order to prevent any untoward incident.
Media mischief has painted JNU in dark colors. A Delhi Police report to Commissioner B S Bassi on investigations into charges of sedition against JNU students has stated that witnesses from the university had not corroborated claims that students had raised the slogan ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. The Delhi Police had registered a suo motu FIR into the February 9 incident on the basis of footage aired on Zee News on February 10. The FIR also mentioned that the footage included slogans like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. On Sunday, Vishwa Deepak, a producer who resigned from Zee News and claimed to have handled the footage, said the slogans raised were ‘Bharatiya Court Zindabad’ and not ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Prem Nath submitted the report titled ‘A brief background and factual note on the incident at JNU regarding case FIR No. 110/16 dated 11.02.2016’ to Bassi. According to the 12-page report, “JNU staff and other witnesses present there informed that the organisers and their supporters were shouting slogans…” The report mentions 29 slogans that were raised on the night of February 9, but does not include ‘Pakistan Zindabad.’
The slogan finds mention in the report while referring to the Zee News footage. “On scrutiny of the video footage, the individuals who were seen to be shouting slogans in the video and also on the basis of information provided by the representatives of the JNU authorities, the investigating team identified the students who were seen shouting slogans, raising arms in support of the slogans and participating in the procession,” the report stated.
Another video, which purportedly showed JNU students’ union President Kanhaiya Kumar raising “anti-national” slogans, could have been doctored.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia accused the BJP-led government of creating an atmosphere of intolerance in the country and alleged that efforts were on to crush any opposing point of view. Taking part in a debate in the Lok Sabha over some recent incidents in institutions of higher education, Scindia said the government wants a particular thinking to prevail. ‘What we have seen in the last two years is an atmosphere of intolerance in the country. There is every possible attempt to crush opposing viewpoint,’ Scindia said.
Scindia demanded action against Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya over the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad university.
Activists raised their voice against the ‘sedition’ law in view of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest by Delhi police for allegedly shouting ‘anti-national’ slogans. A public meeting was organised at Patrakar Bhavan by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), National Alliance of People’s Movements and other organisations. Ramesh Awasthi, president of PUCL, Maharashtra, demanded the release of Kanhaiya, who was arrested on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy on February 12 after an event at the JNU campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Awasthi condemned the attack on Kanhaiya and other JNU students and faculty, and journalists in Patiala House Courts. He demanded action against lawyers and BJP MLA OP Sharma who allegedly participated in the assaults and also against Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi for the failure of police in handling the situation.
Support for JNU students keeps pouring in. Eight top universities in the UK including Oxford and Cambridge today came out in support of JNU, strongly criticising the police action in its campus as a “direct attack on dissent and debate”. A joint statement issued by entire centres of teaching and research on South Asia of leading universities said the February 12 police action against students threatened the varsity’s freedom of expression and democratic dissent, which they described as “hallmark of JNU’s history and reputation globally”.
Universities have a duty of care to protect their students, following on from the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad. The eight signatories of the statement appealed to the Vice Chancellor of JNU to protect members of the university community as well as the freedom of expression and dissent. “We stand beside the international scholars who have signed the 15 February 2016 statement in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU. We condemn the presence of police on campus and the harassment of students on the basis of their political beliefs ”
The statement is signed by the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge; Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (SIAS), University of Oxford; South Asia Institute, SOAS University of London; Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh; King’s India Institute, King’s College London; Gender Institute, London School of Economics; Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies, University of Nottingham; and School of International Development, University of East Anglia.
Time is now overdue to scrap all draconian laws in Kashmir to terrorize Kashmiri Muslims and revise the sedition laws propounded by Britishers
Neither Hinduism is India nor is Hindutva Indian patriotism. Secular philosophy does not vouch for all these gimmicks.