The Secret History Of JNU

The Secret History Of JNU

by Surajit Dasgupta - Wednesday, March 9, 2016 12:05 PM IST
The Secret History Of JNUKanhaiya Kumar in JNU (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images))
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University is not the full story; it is at best a link in a long chain of subversive politics and dubious funding. But anti-India elements cannot afford to see that link snapped.

The story of secessionism and crimes committed on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus is an old one. “I saw a lot of intolerance among the academics. I saw students being victimized for not belonging to a certain leftist bent of mind. I saw even faculty careers getting destroyed just because they did not subscribe to an idea. The kind of ideology that has been fostered there, which was earlier on the fringes, has now become mainstream,” says Sushil Pandit who was a student of JNU in the years 1984-86 (JNU was founded in 1969).

The growing public perception that the whole of JNU is a hotbed for anti-India activities is not a result of right-wing propaganda. Specific

instances of wrongdoing have been compiled by two students of the varsity. Sources in the government say that these boys reached out to the government in the first half of the second day of the Budget Session of Parliament (24 February) with the compilation and were given a patient hearing by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the premises of the Rajya Sabha.

There are several other students of the institute who have shared their plight in the hands of professors affiliated to different Communist unions, some of which have been published on the Swarajya website.

As far back as 1991, a JNU student, Shahabuddin Ghauri, was arrested in connection with the Ashfaq Hussain Lone hawala case (Lone was a deputy chief of intelligence of the Hizbul Mujahideen).

But the above was not what is typically classified as an anti-national activity. That began in 1996. Student have dug out a letter written by Associate Professor B.G. Chakravorty to the then Registrar (see Page 25) that reads: “The agents of Kashmir have become vigorously assertive on the issue of Kashmir in recent times. The valley of Kashmir, following total physical liquidation of all the non-Muslims, has practically become an all-Muslim territory. This has emboldened the agents of Pakistan on the JNU campus to intensify their vicious campaign for a full-fledged secession. A seminar was held on 15 November (of the previous year), where a full throated declaration was made for another partition of India.” The letter is dated 7 February 1996.

“A sustained, orchestrated, virulent propaganda,” Prof Chakravorty continues, “has been unleashed against our security forces by the anti-nationals at the bidding of their Pakistani masters.” He writes, “JNU, financed by national exchequer, is being massively misused, with total impunity, as a springboard to launch a heinous sabotage for another partition of India.” The letter concludes: “Jawaharlal Nehru University was founded in memory of Nehru. It has no business to function as a monument to Mohammed Ali-Jinnah.”

In the year 2000, Communists who had organized a mushairah on the JNU campus manhandled Major K.K. Sharma, Major L.K. Sharma, a Kargil war hero who does not wish to be named and his brother, when the soldiers, present on the occasion, protested some anti-Indian statements made by the Pakistani “poets”.

In 2003, the Communists of JNU also could not tolerate the felicitation of families of the policemen who were killed by terrorists in the 2001 attack on the Parliament House.

When the Congress formed its government at the Centre in 2004, with outside support of 60-odd Communist members of Parliament, China too began trying its hand in cultivating pliant students and faculty of JNU. Its nefarious design got exposed after UPA-1 was gone and UPA-2 had stepped in, without any Communist allies. The New Indian Express carried a piece on 31 July 2011, which said: “The role of Chinese journalists with huge expense accounts cultivating contacts in the media and the establishment in Delhi has come under the RAW and IB scanner. Indians who have similar ideological sympathies help them: those who study or teach in certain universities or belong to left-leaning political parties. Many of them are offered ‘free trips’ to China where all tabs, including shopping, are picked up.” The JNU students who have written an exposition on their varsity’s past say that the “universities” referred to in the report include theirs.

In 2010, several Communist unions of JNU, under the aegis of the “JNU Forum Against War On People”, put up an ugly show, celebrating the killing of 76 CRPF jawans by Maoist militants in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh. The AISA (All India Students’ Association). affiliated to the CPI(ML), was a co-host of this celebration, which can at best be described as being in very poor taste.

There is enough evidence linking the AISA with condemned terrorists floating around. Last year, after 1993 Mumbai bombing accused Yakub Memon was hanged, the AISA took out a procession, dubbing the Union of India a “killer State” for its stage-by-stage judiciary appellate process of holding Memon guilty of the crime and sentencing him to death.

A poster that all Communist unions in JNU readily circulated read: “Supreme Court judge, Hindu Fascist State of India, the State was scared of Yakub Memon. Our media is a communal corporate media. We are a murderous republic and our cannibal collective conscience was satiated by hanging Yakub Memon. We must rise against this judicial murder.”

The 2013 incident of arrest of DSU (Democratic Students Union)-affiliated JNU student Hem Mishra and commemoration of Afzal Guru’s “martyrdom” every year ever since, on the day the terrorist was hanged have been reported on our website already—with proof. We published posters of the events along with the reports; the posters contain names of some professors of JNU as well. The reports blew the lid off some “moderate” leftists who had pleaded on television that they did not support anti-national activities on the university campus. The Swarajya report established that they were regular invitees to these functions.

In 2013, two professors of the university—Happymon Jacob and A.K. Ramakrishnan—had organized a Kashmir Solidarity Rally. But there’s more that goes into indoctrination of impressionable minds. The Department of Sociology, for example, has replaced Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian with Kancha Ilaiah’s Why I Am Not A Hindu as prescribed reading material. This is over and above projecting Goddess Durga as a scheming, fair-skinned, upper-caste woman who seduced a dark-skinned Dalit Mahishasura into defeat in a concocted festival that was named Mahishasur Shahadat Divas (Mahishasur Martyrdom Day). Some professors of Arabic tell Hindu students in the class that they are not blessed enough to learn Arabic, which is “Allah’s language”. Some of their colleagues in the Persian language department say that their Arabic counterparts are right. And a Hindu professor brags openly about throwing garbage at processions of Ganesh Chaturthi when she used to live in Maharashtra.

On the Republic Day of 2014, the DSU slammed fellow Communists for “capitulating” before ABVP when the RSS’s student wing objected to a joint leftist effort of putting up a separate Kashmir food stall at a cultural event that aimed at showing that Jammu & Kashmir was as disputed a territory as Palestine and Tibet, which had stalls of their own. The poster made it clear that AISA, SFI (Students Federation of India, affiliated to the CPI [M]), and AISF (All India Students Federation, the student wing of the CPI, to which the arrested union President Kanhaiya Kumar belongs) had initially agreed to make a separate stall, accepting the demand of Kashmiri separatists who had approached them. This betrays the nature of the so-called moderates. In the absence of protests, they would happily cohabit with secessionists.

Last year, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam breathed his last, coincidentally in the same month when Yakub Memon was hanged. JNU’s leftist unions chose to mourn the death of the terrorist; they didn’t care to pay homage to India’s most popular President of recent times.

The unregistered union DSU does not stop short of calling for an armed rebellion against the Indian State. It incites Dalit students for a civil war as much as it provokes the people of regions affected by Maoist terror. A poster it pasted prominently on the walls of some JNU hostels in 2015 reads: “Build a militant resistance against the mounting atrocities on Dalits.”

It should not be difficult for a resolute university administration to stop such secessionist activities on the campus. That the DSU functions with impunity is a sorry commentary on the will of the professors, including successive vice-chancellors, to launch a crackdown on these dangerous elements. It may be difficult to ban this wing of the banned CPI(Maoist), but how have they gone unpunished when the names of the same set of students—Anirban Bhattacharya, Anwesha, Aswathi Nair, Bhavna Bedi, Komal Bharati Mohite, Reyaz ul Haq, Rubina Saifi, (Syed) Umar Khalid, Samar Khan and an untraceable “Anjali Jha”—appear time and again in posters that carry Maoist literature? They even admit to being part of the elusive union on a website, and yet the institution’s authority turns a blind eye towards their unlawful activities.

The tenor of the speeches these separatists delivered during the “cultural evening” of this 9 February (see Page 24) was equally obvious—except to the university authorities. Pamphlets were circulated widely in professors’ quarters and students’ hostels.

Delhi Police had, on that fateful day, betrayed the same callousness. When the attendance at the Sabaramati Dhaba where the “cultural evening” was to be held, was still a trickle, a student dialled 100 to complain of the impending secessionist programme. The cop at the other end inquired what the crowd strength was. On learning that it was still in the range between 50 and 100 students, the policeman reportedly told the student that that was nothing to worry about! Subsequently, the crowd swelled, even moderate Communists got charged up, and together they raised slogans that they would fight for the destruction of India.

How many pieces they want India to break into is evident in their printed literature, including posters (see Page 23). Equating the integral parts of India to Palestine and the demand for an eelam (homeland) in Sri Lanka by its Tamil extremists, the Maoist outfit wants Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur—never mind that the Naga and Manipuri insurgents would kill each other for the overlapping territories that both demand—Assam, etc to secede from the Indian Union.

An angle that the intelligence agencies are now exploring is the “coincidence” of Communists baring their fangs on 9 February and Parliament House attack accused-turned-acquitted professor of Delhi University Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani and Prof Ali Javed of Delhi University holding a press conference with the agenda of promoting Kashmiri separatism in the Delhi Press Club the next day.

When the Intelligence Bureau (IB) confirmed DSU leader Umar Khalid’s allegiance to Pakistani terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed, a defensive media instead ran reports that arrested Kanhaiya Kumar’s name does not figure in the communiqué and, thus, Delhi Police’s “bluff” had been called! The IB is, as a matter of fact, not in the business of proving a police force right or wrong. Investigating the issue, the agency found that Kashmiri separatists have infiltrated JNU over the past one-and-a-half months and that the JeM had been scouting for local recruits out of its Communist unions.

And the IB in no way gave Kanhaiya a clean chit. On 9 February, he was leading a group of 80 students, the IB says. There was another group of about 20-25 girls that he led to meet students across hostels. The Jaish had the plan of a simultaneous exercise of indoctrinating students in small groups.

Were these two exercises running on parallel tracks or was Kanhaiya part of Jaish’s plan? The IB report does not make it clear.

On the other hand, Delhi Police’s 13-page submission to Justice Pratibha Rani says that Kanhaiya was actually one of the organizers of the 9 February function. The police says, “It has come during the course of investigation that accused Kanhaiya, the petitioner herein (for bail), not only participated in the said event but actually organized the same in connivance with other accused persons.”

Khalid was the main organizer; Bhattacharya prepared the posters, and Reyaz put in place the sound system. Some more of their accomplices have also come to the fore. Those who raised the anti-Indian slogans that day were Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakash. Since none of these three is a Kashmiri, it is clear that the indoctrination drive of the Jaish is working. Naga, Kumar and Prakash were yet to surrender to the police at the time of filing of this piece.

Meanwhile on 23 January, the JNU Staff Association (comprising non-teaching staff) wrote to Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar that the association condemns the anti-national activities that had taken place on the campus over the preceding fortnight, and demands quick action against the culprits. The letter goes on to say that some people have been demanding an inquiry into the role of the university’s Registrar in this imbroglio, and if any action is taken against the Registrar rather than against the people responsible for the incidents, the staff may even decide to go on strike.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani said in Parliament on 24 February that—not students but—some faculty members were the organizers of the Afzal Guru event. Other than the names of current or former DSU members above, the minister also named two more students from the university’s in-house inquiry committee report: Aishwarya Adhikary and Shweta Raj. It is the university’s committee that observed that these slogans were raised on the 9th:

“Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhat zindabad!”

“Kashmir ki azadi tak jung rahegi/ Bharat ki barbaadi tak jung rahegi (The war will be on till Kashmir is free/ The war will be on till India is ruined)!”

Jis Kashmir ko khoon se seencha, woh Kashmir humara hai (The Kashmir that they drenched in blood, that Kashmir is ours)!”

Hum kya maange—azaadi, bandooq se lenge azaadi” (What do we want—freedom, we will seize that freedom with guns)!”

“Go India, go back!”

“Indian Army murdabad!”

The minister explained how the committee, not a single member of which had anything to do with the present government, reached this conclusion:

• Misrepresentation of a proposed cultural event, although the objective was to hold a political meeting

• Forcefully holding the event when the permission to hold was withdrawn.

• Creating a law and order situation in the campus

The prima facie inquiry committee finds the following individuals to be involved: Syed Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga, Anant Prakash Narayan, Kanhaiya Kumar, Aishwarya Adhikary, Shweta Raj. Considering the seriousness of the offence, and in order to enable a fair inquiry into the incident, the inquiry committee has recommended that the abovementioned students be academically suspended from JNU with immediate effect, during the pendency of the inquiry. However, they are allowed to stay in their respective hostels during the period of inquiry.

It is heartening to note that the government has decided not to be on the backfoot on the issue. The loudest section of the media, meanwhile, has decided to defy the mood of the nation. It wasn’t the BJP, but 15 veteran Army officers who had given a short notice of 24 hours to say they would walk from Rajghat to Jantar Mantar on 21 February in what they termed as a “March for Unity”. The stretch choked with people who came out to protest the Opposition propaganda that India had turned into an intolerant country. By afternoon, among news channels, only Times Now and Zee News had telecast the pictures of national flag-waving youth and senior citizens. When Twitter and Facebook users began shaming the other channels, a few more ran some recorded clips (which means that the reporters had done their job; the editors had spiked the story). The more brazen channels just ran tickers at the bottom of the screen. And the next day, the news of the overwhelming show of patriotism and outpouring of emotions against JNU’s Communists was relegated to the inside pages of all leading newspapers!

The media is clearly attempting to defeat Narendra Modi in 2019, forgetting that it had tried and failed to do so in the period 2002-14. JNU is a major supplier of commentators and panellists to the media. A much-circulated piece of news in 2010 revealed that Kashmiri separatist and Pakistani spy Ghulam Nabi Fai hosted, in Washington DC, veteran journalists Kuldip Nayar and Harinder Baweja, Justice Rajindar Sachar, human rights activists Rita Manchanda and Gautam Navlakha, and JNU professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy.

Media’s favourite psephologist-turned-politician-turned-“expert” Yogendra Yadav is funded by JNU’s Indian Council of Social Science Research, which takes $350,000 from the Ford Foundation (FF) for the purpose. The FF also funds the Centre of Policy Research, headed by sociologist and influential political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta. The Gujarat CID has said in a report that the FF had asked activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust to “identify 100 journalists in the print and electronic, English and vernacular media to supply them with material for their stories”. In the legal fraternity, Indira Jaisingh’s Lawyers Collective is funded by the FF and it is this lawyer whom Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, another FF beneficiary—his NGOs Parivartan, Public Cause Research Foundation and Kabir got money from it—reaches out to settle his score with the central government.

Why should they all come together? Well, the Narendra Modi government instituted an inquiry into the dealings of the Ford Foundation, their common benefactor, right after assuming power, while, if the Gujarat CID is to be believed, the journalists whom the FF funds, indulge in “highly questionable activities… all bordering on, if not outright, political.”

Before a reader smells some conspiracy theory here, he must check the funding agency’s website. It’s all there. Such a chain would break even if just one of its links snaps. JNU is not the story; it is just a link in a big chain, a chapter of a novel, a volume in a series—albeit a very important one. But that link must not snap and, that is why you will find all the other links stand in solidarity with JNU and against this government and the rest of India.

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