JNU - A trial colour revolution

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The  pro-secession-for-Kashmir meeting organised by the pro-Maoist Democratic  Students Union at the Jawaharlal Nehru University on February 9, 2016, could  well have been an official function of Delhi University if a particular  candidate had become Vice Chancellor in 2010.

Readers of this column may  recall that in September 2010, the UN Information Centre in Delhi hosted an ‘India Ragdo’ (crush India) type of seminar at its official premises on Sept.  29 (Pioneer, 12 October 2010), where rabid Kashmiri women raised ‘azaadi’ slogans. A leading candidate for the post of Delhi University vice chancellor  admonished exiled Pandits to ‘stop the litany of injustices and break out of  victimhood’ (she lost to Prof Dinesh Singh following protests to the Union Home  Ministry).

Earlier, in May 2000, two  Army Majors (both Kargil heroes) and a civilian were beaten to pulp in the  presence of JNU officials and teachers for protesting against an anti-India  poem recited by a Pakistani artist at its open air theatre.

Clearly, our universities  have long been nurturing venomous anti-national teachers and students who  thrive on state funding but peddle alienation from the nation-state and its  civilisational ethos. Intelligence agencies must monitor these intellectual  militants and watch the activities of American NGOs that work closely with the  US Government in sponsoring coloured revolutions in other countries.

Recent incidents in Indian  universities bear the hallmarks of pilot projects aimed at derailing the Modi  government’s efforts to revitalise the economy through cooperation with  friendly nations, to punish it for distancing from the US-backed chaos in the  Middle East, and for not kowtowing to Washington on foreign and domestic  economic policy. The current turbulence in Haryana could be part of this  continuum.

Recall the sudden high  decibel campaign against the ‘politics of intolerance’, followed by the  glorification of Yakub Menon (convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai terror  attacks) at the University of Hyderabad. But this was eclipsed by the suicide  of student Rohith Vemula.

To overcome this setback, a  commemoration of Afzal Guru (convicted for his role in the 2001 attack on  Parliament House) and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat  was organised at the JNU on February 9, in the guise of a cultural event. A  similar function was organised by SAR Geelani, acquitted in the Parliament  House case, at the Press Club of India on February 10 (space booked on February  8).

It is a mystery why the JNU  authorities permitted the DSU leader Umar Khalid, rather than the Students  Union, to host the February 9 event. It was only when the Akhil Bharatiya  Vidyarthi Parishad warned that the plan was to protest the “judicial killing” of  Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, and demand independence for Kashmir, that  permission was cancelled. Khalid, who went underground after appearing on a television channel on February 10, is the son of SQR Ilyasi, chief of the  Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) before it was banned.

After JNUSU president  Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested (February 12) for allegedly raising seditious  slogans during the meeting that was held near a campus eatery, and SAR Geelani  arrested for sedition, CPM leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, CPI  leader D Raja and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi rushed to JNU to support  the radicals in the name of freedom of expression. Another goal was to firm up  an anti-government unity prior to the Parliament session.

Shades of a coloured  revolution became visible when Kashmiri separatist Masrat Alam’s slogan, ‘Bharat  ko ragda de ragda,’ reverberated in West Bengal’s Jadavpur  University (February 16), where live coverage by television channels made it  impossible to pretend the footage was doctored. A yawning silence followed the  ‘Thank JNU’ placards, Pakistani flag and Islamic State banners that surfaced in  Srinagar.

In a post to a major  newspaper, a DSU supporter claimed that several Kashmiri students from inside  and outside the campus attended the event, along with the JNUSU, Students  Federation of India and All India Students Association. Angered by ABVP  slogans, ‘Ye Kashmir Hamara hai’, they retorted, ‘Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!’ and ‘Tum kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega’.  He said the Kashmiri students from outside JNU were enraged to see the ABVP  cadres and shouted, ‘Bharat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi’.

Left-liberals who rushed to  defend the provocateurs in articles across the mainstream media, admitted nasty  slogans were raised but argued that somehow ‘Bharat ko barbad karenge’ is not anti-national. Khalid’s sister told the media that her family did not  subscribe to the slogans shouted by the students. By this time, it was clear  that the police were looking for DSU members Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya,  Riazul Haq and Rubina Saifee, for organising the pro-Afzal Guru event and  participating in anti-India activities.

As the case against  Kanhaiya Kumar is sub-judice, it would be inappropriate to comment on his  alleged role at the event. But it is  pertinent that while video clippings of the function surfaced soon after it  began, allegations of doctoring of tapes were made only as late as February 19,  one week after his arrest, by a television channel and its guest speakers.

These claims were not made  at the time of the arrest; when Kanhaiya was produced before the Patiala House  court for remand; or even when he approached the Supreme Court for bail. His  voluble lawyers never said this in their innumerable interactions with the  media, nor have they placed any such evidence before the court. This appears to  be an afterthought.

Interestingly, within 48 hours of the event, 455 Faculty from American  universities released a statement backing the protestors. The most eminent, Sanskrit scholar Prof Sheldon Pollock (no. 319) must  understand that outside select grooves of academia, few Indians have heard of  him. Those who have, wish to know his views on the US government’s  vindictiveness towards Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and the brutalized  innocents of the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose wails were choked by the  free press of his free country. He should recall that even fellow Americans  ignored the academics’ diatribe against Prime Minister Modi last time he  visited the United States.

Likewise, Nobel laureate  Orhan Pamuk may like to pontificate on Ankara’s oppressive policies towards the  Kurd peoples and its aggression against Syria, and the continuing Baloch  genocide by Pakistan. The aged Noam Chomsky is just another white man who  burdens himself with every cause outside America. Grow up, guys, your eminence  should make an impact inside your own countries.

First published in Pioneer titled 'The hidden agenda in overt sloganeering'