It has been more than a week since I blogged about the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) saga, arguing that the students who raked up the Afzal Guru issue deserved no sympathy and that “they must be happy that they did not meet the same fate as those involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.”
My position has not changed since then despite the devious tactics adopted by sympathisers of the Government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sully the reputation of the JNU, including launching a campaign to have it shut down.
Venom Against Nehru: The venom is perhaps not as much against the university as it is against the man whose name it carries.
Terrorists have been relentless in their anti-India activities in Kashmir, with an escalation seen through the Pathankot attack on January 2 this year that resulted in the deaths of several Indian soldiers.
The Indian Army lost a few more lives even during the last few days in terror attacks that have hardly seen any let-up this year amid the peace overtures between India and Pakistan.
Neither Seditious, Nor Appropriate: An event to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru on February 9 was, therefore, hardly appropriate, if not seditious. It was a wrong cause to fight for though the elite institution has come to be associated with radicalism and communistic leanings. Some empathy with the sacrifices of Indian soldiers fighting to keep the country safe was called for.
But the BJP, the RSS and their supporters, with the tacit support of the police and the courts, went into an overdrive and vitiated the environment with a series of lies, plagiarism and foul actions. They include actions least expected from democratic governments.
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh relied on a fake Tweet from a fake ID to claim that the JNU students had the support of Hafiz Sayeed, the man who masterminded the Mumbai explosions.
- A doctored video was used to vilify JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and portray him as an antinationalist to justify his arrest on charges of sedition.
- BJP spokesman Sambit Patra had the doctored video with him on his tablet while on a show with Times Now.
- Zee News, a channel seen as having a pro-Government slant, was believed to have aired the fake video.
- The doctoring did not stop there as Dr Patra went on to show another image at another Times Now debate, showing soldiers hoisting the Indian Tricolour along the border. He had no qualms claiming that the image was of “Indian jawans, Indian soldiers dying, but holding up the tricolour, at the border”.I did not watch that show, but it was brought to my attention by this report. How shameless can this BJP brigade go!
- The truth: it was a Photoshopped image of the historic Pullitzer-winning Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal.
The original (Left) and the fake with the Indian flag
- Mr Modi himself had been embroiled in a Photoshop controversy when pictures of the Prime Minister having an aerial view of some flood-hit areas were circulated in December last.
- Pro-BJP lawyers physically assaulted the JNU student leader, Kanhaiya Kumar, on court premises with the police doing nothing to prevent it or take the offenders to task.
- The lawyers did not spare JNU lecturers and journalists either, attacking them viciously and calling them (Journalists) terrorists.
- The lawyer thugs were allowed a free run the next day when they staged a big rally against the JNU students.
- To cap it all, an India Today sting operation claims that the lawyers also beat up Kanhaiya Kumar in lock-up so bad that he wet his pants. If true, this points to an evil nexus among the police, the Central Government and the offending lawyers, going against every tenet of justice.
- Even the Supreme Court played into the hands of the government by refusing to take up the bail plea of Kanhaiya Kumar last Friday. He was asked to move the Delhi High Court first where the police opposed the bail plea today.
- A BJP legislator in Delhi was also caught beating up a student in yet another instance demonstrating how hooliganism is not alien to the party ruling the country.
- Another BJP leader in Tamil Nadu even had the audacity to say that Communist leader Raja must ask for his daughter to be shot dead for participating in the JNU protests.
I have no illusions that the BJP is digging its own grave through actions that go against the interests of India.
Going by all the vitriol I read online from India’s new breed of “nationalists” against all parties except the BJP, it looks to me the party’s political future is bright.
I am, however, certain that the BJP is digging India’s grave. The world is closely following what is happening in Delhi, remaining amused at not just the continuing reign of intolerance but the extent to which uncivilised behaviour is being condoned by the ruling party.
Worse, the dabbling in all kinds of tampering with evidence to promote falsehood is showing India in a very bad light.
With this kind of India rising how will Mr Modi’s plans to make the country an economic powerhouse (Make in India, etc.) work?
My earlier posts on the issue:
G Joslin Vethakumar