(Interview) JNU campus row: Sedition is the only deterrent for anti India protests

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Bengaluru, Feb 15: The past few days has been spent discussing the JNU campus row. It started off with a protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru on his death anniversary and led to anti India slogan shouting which prompted the Delhi police to file sedition charges. It has become a very complex problem and threatens to repeat every year.

What one must remember that in JNU there is a very strong lobby which feels that Kashmir must be granted freedom or at least granted the maximum autonomy.

Also read: Hafiz Saeed on JNU row: Indian government fools its own people

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The Left thinkers and so called secularists form this part of the lobby says former special secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan. In this interview with OneIndia, Bhushan says that the JNU has plenty of sympathisers who will raise the Kashmir bogey at someone's behest.

Do you similarities in the issues of Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru?

When Maqbool Bhat, the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front was hanged after being held guilty of two murders, it had become a ritual in Kashmir to protest. It went on for a period of time and gradually the intensity died down. Today they have found a symbol in Afzal Guru.

Every year now they will stage a protest on his death anniversary in February and demand for his body to be returned. Moreover they will connect his death with the Kashmir issue and seek separation.

Why is JNU a hub for such protests?

In JNU there are sympathisers who speak on the behalf of these separatists. It is not now, but since the days I have studied there, I have found that there are voices which speak in favour of freedom for Kashmir or maximum autonomy. Today the intensity of such protests have gone up.

Earlier many protests were restricted to Kashmir. However with networking improving today, the intensity and reach of these protests has gone up. Separatists realise that the publicity for their so called cause will be higher if done in the national capital.

In this context they find JNU to be the best place as there are many sympathisers who will speak on their behalf. There are plenty of Left leaners and so called secularists who are there to support such a cause.

In JNU, over the years since it was instituted, there have been a lot of Left thinking people in there. Many teachers as I know would get patronage from Russia and China.

What are your thoughts on the police reaction at the JNU?

The question is should the police get involved in campus politics or not. You cannot fault the police. If the university is able to manage things on the campus then there is no need for the police.

What does one do if anti India slogans are shouted. Clearly the university has not been able to manage it and this has mandated the police to intervene.

The students are demanding that one of their leaders be released. What are your thoughts on this issue?

The problem is that these people have become the investigators and judges. They are now asking for the release of their leader. The police have filed a case and are investigating. Let the police probe and the court decide.

None of these students want to go by the system. How can you ask for an unconditional release. They should go to court and ask for his release. The culture in India today is that people come to the roads, protest, indulge in violence and then make demands to release people.

This is gaining in strength and is not a good trend. If you keep conceding that on and on the same thing will happen.

What do you make of the Home Minister's statement that Hafiz Saeed had a hand in this protest?

I am quite sure that Hafiz Saeed may have spoken to some of the organisers of this protest. He has a reason to raise the Afzal Guru bogey. He may have suggested to these people to make the protest more aggressive this time.

Lastly sir, what are your views on sedition charges being slapped?

Sedition charges do act a huge deterrent. However the track record of sedition charges sustaining is very low. More often than not they are dropped. Sedition charges involves a very elongated process of investigation. A message has to be sent in such cases and a very strong one.

OneIndia News

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