NEW DELHI,AZAAN JAVAID,RITIKA JAIN : “I don’t want to talk about my case, because it is in the courts. But I want to respond to the Prime Minister’s tweet. He tweeted ‘satyamev jayate’, and I want to say the same words to him.” This was Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested and released on interim bail, after being slapped with sedition charges.
The venue was the administration block, the exact spot where the student union president of Jawaharlal Nehru University had delivered his controversial speech, at a function organised to mark the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. And there were hundreds who have gathered just to get a glimpse of the man who has grabbed headlines for weeks now.
It took a while for Kanhaiya to reach the spot where he was supposed to speak as he was repeatedly interrupted by hordes of students trying to shake his hand or hug him. “I want to thank everyone, be it students, mediapersons, political and non-political people and the staffers here, who stood in support of me and JNU,” said Kanhaiya.
“We don’t have hate for anyone including the ABVP because we truly believe in the constitution and democracy. I want to appreciate how JNU has stood together. They had plans for us but what we did was spontaneous,” Kanhaiya said.
He also stressed on the dangers of creating a binary debate by equating JNU with soldiers laying their lives at the borders. “I salute the soldiers martyred but also I salute, the farmers, the fathers and brothers of the same soldiers who are forced to commit suicide,” he said.
Earlier, varsity students spent their day debating the much awaited arrival of Kanhaiya. The atmosphere in the campus was charged up and the students seemed to be upbeat even after celebrating news of Kanhaiya’s release order till late night on Wednesday. In fact, people working in eateries and shops inside the campus too were curious about any news on Kanhaiya, who has been lodged in prison since February 12.
Far from JNU, the secrecy under which Kanhaiya’s bail bond and undertaking was furbished added to the courtroom drama surrounding the case.
The bail bond of 10,000 rupees and an undertaking which stated that he will not partake in any anti-national activity was furnished at a special court in Chanakyapuri police station on Thursday morning. The identity of the JNU teacher who stood surety for Kanhaiya is also being protected.
To throw media officials off the trail and perhaps confound those against the decision of the high court, the police laid siege outside the court of chief metropolitan magistrate Sumit Das.
However, the final proceedings and the release order was issued by additional chief metropolitan magistrate Ajay Garg.
The drama over Kanhaiya’s release continued through the day with several false leads filtering through from Patiala house and the police officials.
At Tihar jail complex in West Delhi, where Kumar has been lodged since he was remanded in judicial custody, the security was heightened with 30 officers standing guard over all three entrances of the jail complex. At the time of Kumar’s suspected release, police officials admitted that Kumar had already been released in the morning and had been camped out at the Hari Nagar police station, less than a kilometre away from the jail complex.
Throughout the day while some students discussed the fate of other students accused of sedition, slogans in favour of the student leader and against the BJP government reverberated from all corners of the campus.
Heavy presence of students as well as media persons was seen in multiple locations that were rumoured to be the “landing place” of the “hero of JNU”.
Kanhaiya’s brother Manikanth, who has been staying at the CPI office in Central Delhi, said, “Truth has won today. These charges won’t be proven because my brother has done nothing wrong. I have full faith in my brother and I know he aims to work for the people of India and beyond. That is how it’s in our family. Two of three siblings work for the family. One works for the world.
Speaking to dna, Ashutosh Kumar, one of the six students accused by Delhi police of sedition said,”I have been questioned by the police for three days and they have used extremely unparliamentary language describing me and my family. I was under such stress but the news of Kanhaiya’s release has uplifted me. However the true litmus test for the JNU student movement will be the release of Umar Khalid and Anirban”.