Opposition parties want Modi to intervene in JNU crisis

NEW DELHI: The Opposition parties in one voice protested against the pressing of sedition charges against Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley showing the video of JNU studentsprotesting on the campus to CPI MP D. Raja and Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and AnandSharma after an all-party meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley showing the video of JNU students protesting on the campus to CPI MP D. Raja and Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma after an all-party meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

At an all-party meeting called by Mr. Modi, the Opposition on Tuesday was assured that the government would concede a debate in Parliament to address their concerns, and that Mr. Modi was “Prime Minister for the entire country, not just the BJP.”

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, said the Congress had protested against the slapping of sedition charges against Mr. Kumar. “There is no proof of sedition against him,” he said.

‘Suspend Rahul from LS’

While the government reached out to the Opposition, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and the Election Commission, demanding that the Lok Sabha membership of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi be cancelled for his “support to anti-national activities.”

The BJP also announced a Jan Swabhiman Abhiyan between February 18 and 20 to “spread awareness of how separatism was being spread in the name of promoting freedom of expression.”

While the JNU campus witnessed demonstrations, 800 journalists took out a march to protest the attack on them.

Left attacks intolerance at universities

At the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, leaders of the Left parties said they raised several issues, including “what is happening at universities” and President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh, and sought Mr. Modi’s intervention.

“Most of the Opposition leaders raised the issue of what is happening these days at universities. Even the CPI(M) office was attacked, [CPI-M general secretary] Sitaram Yechury was threatened. CPI leader D. Raja is being threatened,” CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim said.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said, “The government will discuss every issue under the rules. We have no objections. The government is willing to walk the extra mile. Let there be an open debate on what happened at the JNU, the posters used there. Some said the police should not have gone there.”