Do not assassinate JNU's character: Student unions

New Delhi: All sections of society should wait for completion of inquiry into JNU row and not indulge in 'character assassination' of the university, student unions of various parties on Wednesday said, even as they condemned the alleged raising of anti-national slogans at an event in the campus.

Besides demanding the release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested last week in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy registered over holding the event, they sought withdrawal of "false charges" against all the university students.

The joint press conference was addressed by leaders from student outfits such as All India Students' Association (AISA) of CPI(ML), All India Students Federation (AISF) of CPI, National Students' Union of India (NSUI) of Congress, Students Federation of India (SFI) of CPI(M) and Student Forum For Swaraj (SFS). They also denounced the assault on Left activists, JNU teachers, students and media on February 15 when Kanhaiya was to be produced for bail hearing in Patiala court. They claimed that these were attempts by RSS and BJP to "spread a reign of terror against differing voices".

"We condemn the anti-national slogans that were raised during the event but who did that is a matter of investigation. Let the inquiry takes it course. Do not character assassinate the entire university by branding it as anti-national," SFI general secretary Vikram Singh said.

"If the entire University is anti-national, then its alumni including Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, CBI Director Anil Sinha and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman are also anti-national," NSUI leader Kumar Raja said.

"Slogans cannot be used as an excuse to crackdown on JNU. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya and the immediate withdrawal of false charges on all JNU students," they said in a joint statement.

Claiming that "RSS and BJP government are hell-bent on destroying and maligning JNU", they said the campaign would be intensified in the future. Besides demanding immediate arrest of BJP MLA OP Sharma and all others who allegedly indulged in violence and intimidation on February 15 at Patiala Court premises, the student unions called for "action against the ABVP activists who assaulted Congress leader Anand Sharma" when he had gone to the University to address the students.

They also alleged that 'ongoing assault on JNU is part of a long process by the Modi government to destroy our best educational institutions'. "We are seeing a pattern wherein the Modi government actively intervenes to shove the RSS-BJP agenda down the throats" of the institutions, they claimed.

The organisers claimed that they were denied permission for holding the press conference at Press Club and Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) considering the 'subject'.

The press meet was finally held at ITO's Ajoy Bhawan housing the CPI office.

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