Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the JNU students' union and an activist, was arrested by the police after "anti-India" slogans were allegedly raised at the university during a recent protest meeting.
The event was held in memory of Afzal Guru, who was hanged in 2013 after his conviction in the Parliament attack case.
Along with the students and faculty members of the university, several social organisations and activists have criticized the action taken by the Delhi police in an educational institution. The large scale presence of police men on the campus has also angered the students and faculty members.
The All India Students' Association (AISA), a left-wing student body, in a statement has alleged that the crackdown on JNU students' movement was to silence critiques of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The AISA has categorically denied that no JNU student ever raised any anti-Indian slogan.
"Friends, this is to inform you that JNUSU President, Comrade Kanhaiya has been arrested. Police are doing rounds of the campus and mindlessly witch-hunting activists.
The RSS is running campaigns to shut down JNU. We need to protest against the free run given by the Vice-Chancellor to the police. The police in coordination with the ABVP goons are identifying student leaders for arbitrary arrest," said the statement.
"The media has successfully demonized and witch-hunted us, despite the fact that no JNU student ever raised any unprincipled slogan. In fact, we stopped these slogans that called for India‘s division and destruction. Because we don't believe in politics of division and destruction," the statement added.
The press statement issued by the People's Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), Delhi unit, condemned the action of the Delhi Police in arresting JNUSU president on the charge of sedition.
"It is shocking that the Delhi Police has arrested the President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) on the charge of ‘sedition' -a provision of law about which Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had said in 1951, ‘Now as far as I am concerned that particular Section is highly objectionable and obnoxious and it should have no place...in any body of laws that we might pass. The sooner we get rid of it the better.'
The provision of section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, which provide punishment for ‘sedition' was enacted by the British to silence all opposition to its autocratic rule.
This provision had been used by the British against Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, M.N.Roy, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, and many other freedom fighters. It is unfortunate that the governments in free India have been misusing this anachronistic colonial era law from time to time in order to silence the voices of dissent.
The human rights organizations, especially PUCL, for many years have been campaigning for its repeal," the press statement added.
The PUCL statement said that the arrest was in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court.
"The action of the Delhi Police is also in violation of the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the celebrated case "Kedar Nath Das Vs. State of Bihar" (AIR 1962 SC 955) which held that ‘...comments, however strongly worded expressing, disapprobation of the actions of Government, without exciting those feelings which generate the inclination to cause public disorder by acts of violence, would not be penal.'
It appears that there was no intention on the part of the President of JNUSU to incite violence and therefore the action of the Delhi Police in arresting him is condemnable. PUCL appeals to the Home Minister (Central Government) to instruct the Delhi Police to release the arrested leader immediately," said the statement.