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“First They Came After The Muslims In Dadri, Now The Students In JNU”

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By Shambhavi Saxena:

Source: Twitter.

Staccato slogans are pulsing outside the window panes this evening, as a large group of people marches past hostels and dhabas. Nobody who lives in JNU is a stranger to this, but it’s different this time. The Students’ Union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, has been arrested and charged with sedition. The hashtag #ShutDownJNU is trending online. People are calling us all terrorist sympathisers.”

All of this is happening because a few days ago right-wing elements took umbrage with a particular slogan raised by some individuals. Even as students groups categorically distanced themselves from these slogans, the right used it as a pretext to launch an attack against their own peers in the campus, branding everyone not in the ABVP as ‘anti-nationals’.

Things escalated to truly terrifying proportions on 12th February when students like Kanhaiya were hunted down in their own campus. That this is being allowed is a reflection of the kind of nation India wants to be, or has already become.

Back in 2014, I had the jitters about the general elections, and I went to twitter to ask: “Personally I want to know if my new government will safeguard my rights as a queer feminist tree-hugging atheist? #raceto272 #IndiaElections.”

Two years down the line, our worst fears have been realized, and I have my answer. I know exactly what kind of nation I am living in.

It is a nation where a prominent anchor like Arnab Goswami will get away with vilifying an entire student community and calling us all terrorists. Here, people are making sweeping statements to misrepresent the student community, and others are rushing to support them, on the Newshour Debate’s YouTube channel, saying:

It is a nation where students’ democratic right to protest is being snatched away while people have gone online and made disgusting and terrifying threats and no one, not even Mr. Goswami who has an opinion on everything, has raised an eyebrow about this.

It is a nation where academia is under threat – when the students of JNU, or DU, or UoH take a stand, lathis, water cannons and brute force are used to smash dissent. A nation where guns are used to murder intellectuals like M. M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, and Govind Pansare. It is a country where FTII (Film And Television Institute of India) students cannot protest without being attacked by the right wing ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).

It is a nation where Smriti Irani says “bharat mata ka apman nahi sahenge” (we won’t tolerate any disrespect towards mother India), but where female victims of sexual abuse are shamed, and a man like R. K. Pachauri is back in TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute).

It is a nation where women are still subjugated, and doesn’t even acknowledge its LGBT+ population – a nation where attacks on gay and trans Indians is heartbreakingly commonplace.

It is a nation where the alleged ‘institutional murder’ of the Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula is permitted to happen – and where the nightly news sweeps India’s caste problem under the carpet so those with caste privilege don’t have to acknowledge their privilege. A nation that has had seven decades to positively address caste issues since Dr. Ambedkar drafted the Constitution, and has failed.

And it is a nation which lacks pro-poor government policies, and where a Muslim actor is torn apart online for expressing his concerns about rising intolerance.

This is not just an attack against a bunch of students. This is an attack on the Constitutional integrity of India, of the Indian people. As Saib Bilaval wrote in Firstpost, “attacking our university in particular is first and foremost an attack on liberalism and social scientists.”

If we do not recognize the real threats to this country, we will be repeating the mistakes that the liberal, progressive Germans made in 1930. We will be turning a blind eye to the witch-hunts happening under our noses.

After the Second World War, Martin Niemöller called it, and today we’re living it – they’ve already come for the Muslims in Dadri, they’ve already come for the communists in JNU, for the trade unionists, the queer couples, the atheists, the intellectuals. They’re coming after anyone who will defend the spirit this country was founded on.

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  1. Tushar Arora

    Its shameful that you are writing in support of these fringe groups. You are listing youtube comments to show public opinion on this matter. For your record most of these social media accounts are fake.
    Of course ABVP must not attack any protest that they might consider anti-national or pro-separatist. Think before you write and keep both sides on table.
    Free thinkers are not a threat to the country but if they ask for 'Bharat ki barbaadi' or 'Go back India' then this nation will stand up and ask them to leave for sure. I suggest them to STFU and contribute towards progress of this country.

  2. Anonymous

    Ok. Shambhavi right? Why the hell are you still in this nation if there is so much wrong with it? And wow ! “Fighting till the nation is destroyed” is certainly the way to go about it. Right! Kudos! Its because of people like you and those sick heads that are supporting this that the youth is blamed for being hot heads.
    As far as Arnab Goswami is concerned, even I thought that he should have given much more time to Lenin and other guys to speak BUT, then I thought what's the point. When people are way over the lines of tolerance they should be thankful that they were even given a chance to speak. And please don't try to hide behind other issues instead of standing for what you have done and may be accepting your fault. And by the way its a country that you are talking about ma'am! Its not your Ganga dhaba's menu that you can change in a day. Live with it. And for God's sake please don't play with the reputation that JNU has had.

  3. Ramgopal

    Seriously? Are you comparing this incident to attacks on intellectuals and atheists? I am an atheist as well with a lot of atheist friends and all of us feel these students must be arrested. They are the real threat to the country at least in my opinion.

  4. ranjeet singh

    As a student of Delhi university I wants to say all the people that if you are judging whole JNU university as anti nationalist it is fully wrong ,students who were involved in anti nationalist activities they should be sent to jail . people who are now saying that they are nationalist then tell me if in a country like ours why income inequalities is high and there are too many poor people who don't have food to eat . everyone know about muzzafarnagar riots in which too many innocent people killed but now this BJP government has provided him zed plus security and he is not in jail.

  5. Mani

    Shambhavi, I read the article and tried to understand as to what it actually worrying you. I was not able to find
    what you want to convey. You appear to have mixed some intricate issues out here. Tell me, are you against
    the so called “wrongful charge of sedition” being slapped on a group of students? or are you upset that students who
    were genuinely responsible for raising anti India slogans were spared?! Are you trying to justify voices that disrespect the
    Constitution with the fundamental right of freedom of expression that the same Constitution gives you!

    And I believe it is high time that we stop cribbing about the problems about LGBT, sexual abuse and the infamous
    “intolerance” and try suggesting something more positive and solution oriented in these cases. India knows what the
    problems are, reiterating them serves no purpose lady!

  6. Devang

    Why be biased?Kanhaiya was framed.

  7. Paras

    Hi Shambhavi , very nice writing skills . i Totally agree with you that certain section of Society did over reacted,but mam i have few questions for you .
    1: i watched Arnab's debate have you listen to arguments that were presented by your Leadership ??
    2: I can understand the disagreement over capital punishment but what justifying people like Afzal Guru and Yakub menon … where this buck stops … whats next glorifying Kasab as hero ….?
    3: Well you have to maintain certain dignity and level of decency in protesting … do you really think the students organizing an event where anti india sentiments were flared across is what we tax payer of this country pay our taxes to get education of these kind of student with such venom for our Country ?
    4: India is not perfect it has lot of problems but believe me no nation in this world is … and the anti india stand that were echoed is not gonna help either … and calling defaming Army of our nation where do these student leader have been groomed .?
    5: JNUSU have organized an events its fine but the moment anti india activity started the event should have been called off but nothing was done by anyone by the ones you are defending . You have right to hold different opinion but not anti national sentiments .
    6:And believe me you are lucky to be in india people were shouting “Pakistan zindabad ” where an Virat kohli fan was booked for sedition ….Irony is you took out all unfortunate incident happened over past few years to justify what happened at JNU …… all the above mentioned incident happened under different state gov and no need to mention in all states Police is under state gov how does center government can be held responsible .??

  8. vikas

    Rohit vemula wasn't a dalit… He was a fuckin cheat who got fake caste certificates…… So plz stop calling him a dalit student……second thing…no body came after Muslims…… After dadri incident… Third thing…kanhaiya kumar was defending accused. students on live tv and he was seen with that anti national students…. So he should be arrested….. jnu in last decade has become a hub for anti national bitches who in the guise of freedom of expression…. Are doing all that stuff to damage the indian values and culture…. Any body who tries to stand for india is called thekedaar of dharma and thekedaar of nationalism….. Everything has a limit……if anyone is found shouting or supporting anti national elements he should be shot dead whether he belongs to abvp nsui or motherfuckin communists and feminist parties

  9. Srinivas

    America has it right. They put the Communist assholes in their place. And what I can't get it straight is why, Indian Communists are only against Hindus. They have pallys in Muslims and they have alliance with Neocon Dalits, but they can't stand Hindus.
    BTW, Arnab only accused those students who raised slogans of “Bharat Ki Barbaadi”as anti national. Those bitches are. So don't cleverly group people “they came for Muslims, they are now coming for JNU students”, bitch!
    I would personally be happy if they cluster bomb you rats and bandicoots that are gnawing away at the foundations of India.

  10. Sabhyata

    Well, this is a reply from a hardcore feminist to the writer of this article! Firstly, your article is basically accumulation of various incidents which are not identical in nature, probably your vague and baseless attempt to impose your idea which you feel would be your “proposed ideologies and opinions”!To the matter to which your article curtails, I feel one sentence would be enough to any person who understand basic stuffs, There is a line of distinction between freedom of speech and expression and seditionary statements! Kindly refer to ” our constitution”! Secondly, as far as I have keenly observed, people who have opinions and speak outside the frame of what we call “mainstream” consider themselves to be “intellectuals”! Unfortunately, this ignorance wasn't expected after knowing that you believe yourself to be an ” ace feminist”.

    1. sumant

      Whoever has written this blatantly biased piece is trying to be the next intellectual by quoting tweets pretended to be of ABVP. Really? woudn't it be better if you also would have quoted the bharat ki barbaadi tak chant. Unfortunately, this baseless and sickening depiction of your own mind would snatch thousands of your avid readers this moment,

  11. ItsJustMe

    It is a very common trait to strive to rebel against the system when you are a young student citizen of India. Most of us have done it, I am from Kerala and we have over done it a lot of times. There is always a line between student protests and protests clearly backed by lobbyists. This clearly is a protest that was backed by lobbyists. There is a difference, a subtle but clear difference between shouting “Death to Modi” or “Destroy this government” and “Destroy India” “India will be broken into 1000 pieces”. The former is against a government and a leader which is completely fine in a democracy, however the later is completely unacceptable. You know what a nation is made, its not just the governments and its political stand internationally. It is most importantly made of people with varying cultures. If your slogan shouts “destroy India”, you are first and foremost calling for the destruction of its people and their culture. I myself and anyone who can think critically and objectively will take it as a direct threat to the lives of people. So yes police is arresting students from JNU, elsewhere in the world they would never see the light of the day again which would have made the citizen of India feel much safer if it is to happen to the anti nationalists in this case. However India being a democracy, they will walk out like heroes. They will create havoc in the University and glorify future Afsal Gurus as martyrs of freedom. Imagine NYSU student protesting killing of Osama Bin Laden, or you can watch India students actually do something as stupid and cringe worthy in JNU. The nerve you had to come out in support of these scoundrels who call themselves revolutionaries is unbelievable. Who is next in the line, Ajmal Kasab?

  12. Raghuvanshi

    Shambhavi Right there you go. Your logic is like that creep standing on the road side and commenting that every girl who smokes is a hooker. He says so peacefully and does not actually individually accuse and particular girl to be a hooker. Just by that logic the peaceful protest by your fellow students should not have been interfered with. They were not actually burning down India!. Alas; I feel disgusted reading these posts where one sided being victim story is presented. No matter how bad you may feel but more than LGBT Rights, this Country needs food and education and even more than that Nationalist Indians.

  13. Varsa Saxena

    Dear Friends first check her back ground .check her twitter timeline.she has made up her mind that the
    jnu incident is a sanghi project and dont want to listen the pain of the our Nation. This is nothing but complete prejudice and a malice driven spirit of her who wanted to believe one side of a story and portrayed
    like that .And see also how she made moslems her ploy in framing a story,the classic way of ******
    (You know what i mean ) so Dear Friends Why give her the attention she seeks itm. Just ignore her na anddont forget to show her the Mirror .

  14. NotACommunistBhakt

    I know what happens in JNU. I know how fierce DSU is. I know how muslim students in hostels demand for only muslim roommates. They keep additional illegal people in their rooms. Nobody knows who are these outsiders are. Wardens only check twice every year and even if you are caught keeping illegal occupiers, the fine is only Rs2000/- So, pay 4000/- every year and keep as people as you can accommodate for as long as possible. Some months ago, when the administration proposed to install CCTV cameras at strategic places(like, hostel entrance), the DSU was in forefront of a massive and violent protest and all other leftist parties(AISA, SFI, DSF etc) joined wholeheartedly. Their campaign against it was so massive, it was apparent that there is something wrong. What wrong? Clearly, they did not want any surveillance on who is going inside hostels. This raises the question: were they trying to hide whom they are bringing inside hostels? Are they terrorists?

    Also, there are many faculty members who are the masterminds and leaders of these separatist parties like DSU. They motivate, provide funds and protect these so called students. You see, the recent protest for “freedom of speech” and “freedom of dissent” has many teachers in fore front. Why? They are trying to stop arrest of Umar Khalid and his accomplices, cause their arrest and subsequent grilling will surely implicate many faculty members.

  15. abdullah

    Kanhaiya Kumar Exposed watch, like & share this video for sake of “Satyamev Jayate” ..


    Here’s, the proof/evidence that Kanhaiya Kumar with Umar Khalid, was involved in anti-Indian protest. See first 10 seconds of video, you will see kanhaiya Kumar raising anti-Indian slogam. Here his black coat’s chain is zipped/closed. After this incident, media accused him during TV debates. Later on next day, in morning when he became aware that he is going to be arrested, he came to the same protest site & make a corrective speech to befool the public & police. And at this time taking U-turn from his last protest slogans, he gave a political speech against RSS & ABVP so that public may start thinking that he is innocent!! That 2nd Video or U-turn Video which is of about 25 minutes (in which his coat chain zip is open), was made viral by his colleagues to hide the truth . But, you can see, in this 1st video, his coat chain is zipped/closed & he is making anti-Indian slogans. To let Truth prevail, I am exposing Kanhaiya Kumar. I was following JNU news updates from the day first on various TV news channels & was shocked to see how a traitor (kanhaiya Kumar), later on try to become innocent to save himself from prison. So, for the sake of “Satyamev Jayate” , am uploading this video. Kanhaiya shouldn’t be spared. Anybody Hindu or Muslim or of any religion, General, OBC, SC or of any caste, if he/she is making anti-Indian remarks must be arrested & trialed. Jai Hind ! Jai Bharat !

  16. Guddi Singh

    I ask sambhavi. why dint you people remove rally or shout to stop rape and other problems that you found in our country. you would get support of nation. why shouting slogans against nation. what was so right to support an terrorist. you call our nation wrong go and see the other nations you will understand. problem is not nation problem is thinking mind of people. I am girl feel unsafe but i cant blame my country for this its men who rape not country. you call yourself :youth ki awaaz”. shit it is, all those again nation please please surrender your visa passport and peacefully move out as “NO more resident of India”. let me see which nation then gives you their citizenship it only one “pakistan”.. and after all that i bet come and meet us youth after 2 years and speak what all did you find in the other nation which is better than INDIA. you know we feel like spitting on such youth, what are you going to teach others. and please next time onwards dont say you were blamed unnecessarily for shouting against wrong. “JO DESH KI TARAF AANKH UTHAYEGA USKI AANKH NIKAL KE DAM LENGE”. chahe vo koi bhi ho

  17. shubham anand

    क्या कोई अमेरिका की किसी यूनिवर्सिटी में नारा लगा सकता है कि लादेन हम शर्मिंदा हैं,,तेरे क़ातिल ज़िंदा हैं??क्या कोई इज़रायल की यूनिवर्सिटी में फ़िलिस्तीन के समर्थन में नारे लगा सकता है??क्या कोई रूस की यूनिवर्सिटी में सीरिया के समर्थन में नारे लगा सकता है??क्या कोई फ्रांस की यूनिवर्सिटी या विश्व के किसी भी ग़ैर मुस्लिम देश की यूनिवर्सिटी में इस्लामिक स्टेट के समर्थन में नारे लगा सकता है??फिर ये बीमारी हमारे ही देश में क्यों है और इसे किसने पनपने दिया??

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