NEW DELHI: Well-known thinker Noam Chomsky, who has already voiced his concern over the recent developments at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), on Sunday questioned Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar’s decision to allow police on the campus.
In an e-mail to the V-C, he said, “Many of us remain very concerned about the crisis ... which was apparently created and precipitated by the government and university administration with no credible evidence of any seditious activities on the campus” and asked, “Why did you allow the police on campus when it is clear that this was not legally required?”
The JNU administration, in its defence, has been maintaining that it was bound to call the police to prevent any untoward incident and the V-C himself had clarified that he had never “invited the police to enter the campus and pick up our students. We only provided whatever cooperation was needed as per the law of the land.” However, a letter from the JNU to the police, asking the latter to take action as they “deem fit” is being seen as an invitation to the cops to enter the campus. JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 12 on charges of sedition following his participation at an event on the campus organised to mark the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised. The JNU administration has since set up a committee which will submit its final report by February 25.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the divide, a group of eminent individuals have voiced concern, terming those who allegedly raised anti-national slogans as “no less dangerous” than terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar. “The anti-national slogans raised on educational campuses shake our consciousness. If slogans are raised on reputed campuses for fragmenting India, resolutions are made to destroy it, and if Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru is hailed as a martyr, it is shameful and disconcerting,” an appeal which has the consent of 33 individuals, including intellectuals and artistes, says. Among them are Anupam Kher, Bibek Debroy and others.
cops back on campus to arrest students
Police were on Sunday night looking for four JNU students on the campus in connection with the sedition case, after receiving information that they were spotted there in the evening. “We have received some information about their reported presence on campus. A police team was rushed,” police sources said. When contacted, university officials maintained they had no information about their presence at JNU. Police had last week named five students, including Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Ashutosh, alleging they were part of an event against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.