News Karnataka
Wednesday, April 24 2024

JNU row: Now B’luru protests against camping down of right to dissent

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Bengaluru: Over 200 students, faculty members and scholars from Bengaluru’s leading research institutes protested against the ongoing camping down of the right to dissent at various educational institutions across the nation especially at JNU university since last week.

Kunal, a faculty member from the National Law School of India, roared at the presence of hundreds of gathering, and said, “When two Dalit children were burnt, a BJP leader responds by saying, ‘If someone stones a dog, do you blame the government’? That’s the thinking we’re arguing against here. This is for Rohith Vemula, for JNU and the events currently taking place at Jadavpur University,”

“This is not just about a single incident, it is about a government that is hell-bent on silencing, in one way or another, the voices of dissent throughout the country,” Kunal added.

Rolla Das, from the National Institute of Advanced studies and one of the organisers of the event, said, “The turnout today was fairly overwhelming, because we had only expected a 100 people to be there. We are also trying to put together a list of demands and maybe even send out a letter expressing the sentiments of all those who were here today”.

Clifton D’Rozario, the General Secretary from the All India Central Council of Trade Unions, accompanied by a group of pourakarmikas, who also extended support for the protest, said, “The Union Labour Minister told us that the Central Government cannot afford to pay more than `273 a day as the minimum wage. This is the violence we’re trying to suppress,” he exclaimed.

“When the RSS and BJP say that people cannot raise their voice, they’re saying that they will tell us what our culture should be, what women should wear and how Dalits should be treated. What we’re demanding is the right to equality,” Clifton said.

Legal researcher Lawrence Liang, who did his PhD from JNU and was part of the protes, said, “Branding an entire university as anti-national has immense consequences,” he proclaimed. “The institution represents both the fracturedness and the potential of our society today and if it is shut down, a certain ideal of autonomy will collapse with it.”

JNU has been on the boil over the arrest of student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.

The 28-year-old student leader was arrested on February 12 for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at the JNU event three days earlier against the 2013 execution of Afzal Guru, the Kashmiri militant blamed for the terror attack on Indian parliament in 2001. Kumar has denied the charges.

Former Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani, also arrested for organising a similar meeting at the Press Club of India, was on Thursday sent to 14 days in judicial custody. Both Geelani and Kumar will be in Tihar Jail.

Kumar, the first president of the JNU Students Union from the CPI-affiliated AISF, drew support from the Congress, Left and Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party which denounced the government for “high handedness”.

The issue also sparked student protests in Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar and Karnataka with protesters demanding Kumar’s release and dropping of the sedition charges against him.

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