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“We didn’t get Kanhaiya Arrested”: An Interview with ABVP Member Gaurav Jha

In the build-up to the 9th February incident which resulted in the arrest of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and public shaming of JNU, it is now dawning on ABVP that it has landed itself in a tricky situation. Though there was never any love’s labour’s lost between the minority Right and the majority who are Left sympathizers in the campus, the situation has currently turned very hostile towards ABVP. The Informer caught up with Gaurav Jha, ABVP’s Presidential candidate for last year’s Students Union elections; here’s what he had to say about the present state of affairs in JNU: 

“ABVP did not file a complaint against Kanhaiya Kumar and he was arrested on pure suo-moto cognizance of media reports,” claimed ABVP member, Gaurav Jha when in dialogue with The Informer. “Kanhaiya is a good friend and we’ve known each other for years, but we have never let politics affect our personal relationship,” he mentioned. When asked on his views on Kanhaiya’s arrest, he mentioned, “The investigation is currently underway and it is incorrect being part of a responsible organisation to speak on this matter,” though he pointed out that anyone who provides shelter to someone who is known to be guilty of an offence, is bound to be held responsible for the latter’s actions. “If at all the organisers and others are not guilty, why are they absconding?” he added.

Jha also pointed out that there is a split in opinion regarding the 9th February incident in JNU. According to him, “JNU is highly divided at the moment where karamcharis, non-teaching staff and certain teachers are supporting judicial trial and justice for all people… And on the other side most of the teaching faculty while speaking of democracy are shielding the organisers of the event.” He further commented, “Shehla Rashid does not alone represent the JNU community; Kanhaiya is arrested, Rama Naga is absconding and that leaves Saurabh Sharma, the Joint-Secretary who too is part of the union. The recent decision to call for a university strike is purely unilateral.”

When asked about his views on the media doctoring the recent event, he said, “Media is playing both a destructive and a constructive role… The reputation of JNU is being tarnished and it is high time we stop calling for shut down JNU and start talking about clean up JNU.”

Further, Gaurav Jha narrated how JNU has historically been a hub for anti-national activities; he recalled that slogans like ‘Afzal Guru amar rahe’ (Afzal Guru shall never die), ‘Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh ho barbaad’ (Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh shall be destroyed) and ‘Bharat desh ho barbaad’ (The country of India shall be destroyed) were raised back in 2013; and that in 2014 Hem Mishra, a 32-year old BA student in JNU was arrested in Maharashtra due to alleged Maoist links.

He informed that there are two demands, one that the planners of ‘The Country without a Post Office’ event be punished under the law of land and second that light be shed on the nexus of teachers, students and outside sources in JNU who might be involved in anti-national activities.

Affirming JNU’s contribution to the country and the need to address the differences, due to the recent events, between his party and a large section of the university community, he concluded, “JNU has produced brilliant people in the past and not all are terrorists here; we carry the tag of JNU around us and it is our duty to preserve, promote and protect this identity of ours… Also, this perception of ABVP versus all [others] that has come about, needs to be questioned.”

A report by the The Informer correspondent.

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