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The Friday’s police crackdown on the campus of one of India’s most iconic educational institutions, Jawaharlal Nehru University, has become a hotly debated topic of conversation on both traditional and social media platforms.
The JNU Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on Friday and slapped many serious charges including the charge of sedition against him.
Those supported his arrest argued that it was a necessary action because India ‘mustn’t tolerate anti-national activities.’
From Home Minister Rajnath Singh to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, everyone demanded stringent measures against the left-leaning students of JNU.
Not many can support the anti-national activities, as amply highlighted by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet, which said, “No one supports anti-national forces. But targetting innocent students using that as an excuse will prove v costly to Modi govt.”
But, it’s the perceived hypocrisy on yet another contentious issue by the Modi government that has left people utterly incensed.
In December, the motormouth BJP MP, Sakshi Maharaj said that ‘Godse was a nationalist.’
In October last year, the Malayalam mouthpiece of the RSS said that Godse should have killed the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Quoting an article carried by the mouthpiece, India Today reported, “Godse was much better than Nehru – he pulled the trigger on Gandhiji’s chest after a respectful bow. But Nehru stabbed him from behind and greeted him from front.”
Once again last year, we heard how under Maharashtra’s BJP government Nathuram Godse ‘shaurya divas’ (bravery day) was being observed.
And not to forget the talks of building a temple to honour the ‘martyrdom’ of someone who could at best be described as a terrorist.
Did Modi government arrest Maharaj? Was there a police crackdown against those who organised shaurya diwas in Maharashtra? Was the editor of the RSS mouthpiece in Malayalam taken to task for eulogising an anti-national?
When cornered in parliament, this is all the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu had to say, “There is no question of anybody accepting such a preposition eulogising the person responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. There is no question of anybody associating with such persons. I am saying this on record.”
No hysteria displayed and no talks of strong resolve against anti-national elements.
As for the pro-Afzal Guru chanting at Delhi’s press Club, the government’s action here too smacked of its another hycrisy. Let’s not forget that, not so long ago, the champions of Indian’s nationalism were in power in Jammu and Kashmir with the PDP.
They were more than eager to form the government with a party whose leaders openly opposed the hanging of Afzal Guru, convicted and hanged in the Parliament attack case.
They did so when Guru was hanged and continued to iterate their stand even when Amit Shah proudly posed for camera with Mehbooba Mufti.
In March 2015, weeks after the PDP-BJP alliance took oath of office in J&K, not one but a group of PDP lawmakers issued a statement reiterating their stand in support of Guru calling it ‘travesty of justice.’
“PDP has always maintained that late Afzal Guru’s hanging was travesty of justice and constitutional requirements and process was not followed in hanging him out of turn,” said a group of PDP legislators in a written statement circulated to media.
So, why was it fine for the BJP to continue to work with a party whose legislators were openly calling the Guru’s hanging as ‘travesty of justice, but it’s unacceptable for them to hear pro-Guru chants in Delhi’s press club?
Why has it never been a crime for pro-Sangh leaders to protray Godse as a nationalist, but it’s sedition for those either chant pro-Guru slogans or stand up to the politics of ABVP on college campuses up and down the country?
Friends in media must ask themselves if they expressed the same outrage then as they are doing now. Did they hold debates giving grief to members of the Modi government who eulogised ‘terrorist’ Godse? Did they take to twitter to post the video clippings of Sakshi Maharaj and make it viral?
Did they thrust mic to Rajnath Singh, or Smriti Irani forcing them to comment on what Maharaj had to say or what the RSS mouthpiece had written condoning the murder of Gandhi and suggesting how Godse should have killed Nehru?
My sense is that even if they had gone against their natural instinct and asked these leaders to comment on what were truly anti-national comments and write-ups, they would have been put in their place by these ministers. And this would have been perfectly acceptable to them. Sign of changing times!
Let’s hear what leaders and social media users have had to say on the perceived hypocrisy of the Modi government.
The Congress VP, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modi government ABVP are bullying an institution like JNU simply because it won’t toe their line is completely condemnable. While anti-India sentiment is unquestionably unacceptable, the right to dissent & debate is an essential ingredient of democracy.”
On social media, twitter in particular, the emotions are running high prompting users to vent out their frustrations. Here are some examples;
DU teachers detained for discussing Guru: Eulogising Godse=patriotism.Pardoning Headley=Nationalism. But discussing Guru=Sedition!BJP Logic!
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) February 12, 2016
— Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) February 12, 2016
Hindu Mahasabha eulogises terrorist Godse,plans to set up temples for him,observes Republic Day as Black Day.No sedition,hail BJP democracy
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) February 13, 2016
Hail BJP's idea of democracy where Sakshi Maharaj calls Godse a patriot and students anti national @Marc__Me
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) February 13, 2016
Anti India slogans are of course wrong but Godse bhakts are not even the last ppl to preach abt nationalism !
— कोमल 🙂 (@Komal_Indian) February 13, 2016
Republic day = black day. Ok
Godse = hero. Ok
Policies driving citizens to poverty and ruin. Ok
Just don't yell slogans of destruction.
— #DestroyTheAadhaar (@Vidyut) February 13, 2016
Those who wish 2 erect statues to honour Nathuran Godse are objecting to others discussing Afzal Guru on an University campus?
— SonaliRanade (@sonaliranade) February 11, 2016
Godse killed Gandhi! The rats who worship Godse are traitors of the first order! #antiNationals
— Abhisar Sharma (@abhisar_sharma) February 10, 2016
As guilty as RSS affiliates worshipping Nathuram Godse https://t.co/fSl4VYX9Xa
— Pawan Khera (@Pawankhera) February 10, 2016