Country should have place for dissent, says Ram Nag

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Bhubaneswar: Ram Nag, General Secretary of JNU Students’ Union, on Wednesday said people of the country should not be divided and there should be space for voices of dissent.

Nag, a resident of Koraput, said after attending a function here, “Patriotism is not only loving the country but also loving the people residing in the country. The JNU Student’s organization represents the voice of Dalits, Muslim, minorities and deprived section and believes there should not be any division of people. No incidents like in Muzaffarnagar and Trilokpuri should happen and no Rohit Vemula should be murdered. Unity is true patriotism.”

“It has been one and half months since the JNU incident happened and many things have come out within this period. The Patiala House court in its judgment said the arrested students’ sloganeering at the function does not fall under Sec 124 A i.e. sedition charges. From the beginning, we have been saying no JNU student said anything against the country. A high-level inquiry report also said the same thing. The JNU students were targeted through doctored videos and fake evidences with a motive to malign the JNU,” he added.

Attacking the BJP and ABVP, he said, “Initially, permission was cancelled to allow TV channels into the campus to cover the cultural programme organised by students. However, two news channels with some ABVP influence managed to get the permission. One of these news channels telecast the doctored video. Yes, we believe sedition charges were made by ABVP and BJP and conspiracy was hatched against JNU.”

Asked why the students went into hiding if they were not in the wrong, Nag said; “The incident happened on February 9. Suddenly, the situation changed when police entered into the campus on February 12. The cops searched not only boys’ hostels, but also male officers entered girls’ hostels and conducted raids. An atmosphere of terror was created. At the campus main gate, BJP people threatened to kill JNU students if they came out of the campus. At the Patiala House court, the teachers, students and scribes were beaten up. However, no action was taken against the culprits. The students felt unsafe and hid at safe places till normalcy returned to the campus.”

He added, “We informed the Delhi Police more than one month back about our hostel room number and contact details. But they did not contact us. We are not running away from judicial process or inquiry and have been saying that we will cooperate. We demand our concerns should be addressed.”

Nag said, “ABVP inside the campus and BJP and RSS outside it are talking about one kind of nationalism – Cultural Nationalism. There is no space for a dissenting voice. A dalit or adivasi or minorities group is being asked to prove their patriotism. Certificate is given by some people who have made no contribution towards the country’s Independence.

He stated, “I am from Koraput, the native place of Laxaman Naik, who was sentenced to death for fighting against British people. We are being asked to prove the respect we have towards the country.”

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