Protests continues at Indian university after student leader’s arrest
Protests continues at Indian university after student leader’s arrest. Massive protests are expected to continue at one of India’s top universities following the arrest of the president of the student union on charges of sedition.
Thousands of students joined protests, effectively paralysing the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, after Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on Friday following a demonstration that authorities have called anti-Indian.
The demonstration was held to mark the anniversary of the 2013 execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri man convicted of an attack on India’s parliament that left 10 people dead and was blamed on a Pakistan-based Islamic extremist group.
A student faction linked to the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) filed a police complaint, and Kumar was arrested following allegations that anti-Indian slogans were used at the demonstration.
Thousands of students and teachers from several universities and colleges across India held rallies over the weekend to protest against the arrest. In the southern city of Hyderabad demonstrators clashed with rightwing student activists.
Student groups have called for a strike on the sprawling JNU campus in the south of Delhi and very few people attended classes on Monday.
Supporters are planning new rallies at JNU and elsewhere. The reaction of authorities to the protests at JNU – which is well-known for its politically active student body – comes against a background of what critics say is rising intolerance in India since Narendra Modi’s BJP came to power in a landslide election 2014.