Police had to stand at the gates of an outstanding university in India for two days without an invitation.
Within the university itself, 5 Indian students that are on sedition charges remained protected by private security guards. Before Tuesday midnight, two of the students turned themselves in where they got locked, together with the president of the union who is still in custody.
Umar Khalid, one of the students, said that those who are yet to be arrested will progress with the fight that they started.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University in India has been an oasis of thought for a long time in the capital of India. It sprawls over one thousand acres of Delhi.
For a long time it has attracted the brightest minds in the country who feel free to talk, drink tea, sing and debate on daily issues regardless of how radical their views may be.
However, when students chanted anti-Indian slogans during an event as a way of honoring a man the government executed due to terrorism links, JNU has remained in the lime-light over freedom of expression issues.
This fallout with the government has made protests in other campuses to also protest, raising fears that a separatist may up rise. It has motivated a debate on what it means to live in a country with the largest democracy I the world.
This drama has emerged at a time when PM Modi’s government is under criticism for undermining the autonomy of university through methods such as imposition of new subjects in the curriculum, aiming to curb activism and employing partisan leaders.
Critics say the when the government took power in the year 2014; it pressured a university in Chennai to discipline some students for spreading “hatred” against the Prime Minister. There is also a school that had to suspend students who criticized the government. One of the students hanged himself. Students in most universities within the country still complain that one of their head is a political crony who is not qualified for the job.
A media studies professor at JNU, Rakesh Batabyal, said that there is a battle at play between the government which is backed by RSS and the liberal-minded in campus. Since childhood, Modi has been linked to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Because RSS is being supported by the government, their prime agenda is to change the education to be in line with the Hindu nationalist. This student group is seen as the government’s weapon in countering any dissent voice in the campuses.
On the other hand, Irani, who heads the ministry responsible for overseeing education, dismissed the allegations.
She said that out of the 40 universities, the previous government appointed 20 chancellors.
ABVP students submitted complains to the administration concerning a February 9th gathering at JNU dubbed “cultural evening of protest” regarding a Kahmiri man that was hanged in 2013 due to an attack on Parliament that happened over a decade ago.
A PhD student said that to him, JNU represents freedom. However, no one should use the freedom to attack his/her own country.