New Delhi: Terming the anti-India slogan raised by a section of students inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus as ‘grossly unfortunate’, Ram Nag, an Odia student and general secretary of JNU Students’ Union, on Monday said he would assist the police in its investigation into the incident.
Talking to OTV over phone, Nag said the incident took place in the University campus on February 9 during a programme called “A country without a post office — against the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Butt.” The event organisers had pasted posters across the campus inviting students to gather for a protest march against judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Butt and in solidarity with the struggle of Kashmiri migrants at the Sabarmati dhaba in the campus.
He said the programme, which was supposed to showcase the protest through poetry, art and music, triggered a row with the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staging a protest to demand expulsion of the organisers.
“As tension ran high between the two groups of students, I went to the security guards who were on duty, and asked them to form a human chain to diffuse the tension,” Nag said.
He further claimed that no student of the JNU had raised the anti-India slogan. “Rather a section of students from outside the University had raised such slogans,” he pointed out.
He also said the programme was not organised by the JNU Students’ Union.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi asked them to join investigations and prove their innocence.
“I would say if the police are looking for them then they should join the police investigation. And if they are innocent, they should present evidence of their innocence”, Bassi said.
Replying to the statement of Union Home minister Rajnath Singh that the JNU protest had the backing of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, Nag said his statement was based on a fake tweet from an unverified Twitter account.
“The account has posted funny messages in the past, with many on the social media knowing that it as a fake account. The account @HafeezSaeedJUD is no longer in use. Considering this, the Home minister should have given his statement after a thorough investigation. Instead, he issued the statement against a premiere institution of the country, which is grossly unfortunate,” he observed.
After the incident, the JNU Students’ Union had come up with a statement demanding a thorough investigation to identify those who had raised anti-India slogans and take necessary action against them, and stop atrocities on the innocent students who were not involved in the incident, Nag said.
To a question on why he and along with four other students had gone underground after the arrest of the JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges by the Delhi Police, Nag said three days after the incident, the Delhi Police entered into the JNU premises on February 12 and conducted a room-to-room check in the gents’ hostels and even entered into the ladies’ hostel and interrogated the inmates.
“Besides Delhi Police, some outsiders had also entered the university premises the same day while some protesters locked the main gate of the University. Not only this, the JNU students were also targeted outside the campus and detained by the protesters. Besides, the students and teachers of the University, who had accompanied Kanhaiya during his hearing in the Patiala court, were also beaten up by the people. Taking note of the frightening situation, we got a legal advice to vacate the hostel for our safety. We were staying in a house near the University and finally returned to the hostel last evening after the situation returned to normal,” said Nag who is presently suspended by the University authorities in connection with the incident.
Stating that he would cooperate with the investigation, he said the JNU Students’ Union and the Teachers’ Association, in a joint press release today, have urged the vice chancellor of the university to drop the sedition charge slapped on some of the students, including Kanhaiya.
“We have also demanded restructuring of the internal probe committee of the university only after which we will cooperate with the committee in its investigation into the incident”.
Asked whether he is ready to be arrested by the police, Nag said he does not think so. “We are now inside our campus. But if the vice chancellor gives permission, police will enter the campus. We will not consult with the police. If the police arrest us, we will not protest. We will certainly assist the police in its investigation,” he said.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Vikram Dev (Autonomous) College, Jeypore, Nag had moved to JNU where he is doing his M Phil at present. He was elected as the general secretary in the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) polls in September, 2015.