Lalu Prasad Yadav, the leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal and partner in Bihar government, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of cooking up the issue of Leftist students raising anti-national slogans in the JNU to divert attention from the suicide of Dalit student Rohit Vemula.
Talking to the media, Prasad said Kanhaiya Kumar, who also hails from Bihar, is innocent.
“Across India, they are trying to communalize the society in the name of nationalism, in an organized way,” Prasad said, joining a list of leaders from Bihar who have asked for Kanhaiya Kumar to be released.
Lalu called the patriotism of BJP and its student and youth wings fake as the same party is in talks with People’s Democratic Party to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir.
“They are sloganeering in favor of Pakistan and raising that country’s flag in Jammu and Kashmir during Modi’s rule. What happened to their patriotism there,” he asked.
He also criticized the lawyers who beat up people that they considered anti-nationals, such as students and media people. “They are trying to snatch away the right to dispense justice from the bench into their own hands,” he said.
Lalu is the latest Bihari politician to ask for Kanhaiya Kumar’s release. While Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar asked for his release three days ago, Shatrugnan Sinha, a prominent BJP leader from the state, also called on him to be released.
Sinha has publicly opposed the stand taken by the government and his party, both of whom have consistently maintained that Kumar was filmed raising anti-national slogans.
“Have heard transcript of speech of Kanhaiya, our Bihar boy president of JNUSU. He has said nothing anti—national or against Constitution,” said Sinha.
He also went a step further, criticizing those who made the allegations in the first place.
“If students, teachers or politicians make accusations, they need to be prepared to substantiate them with hard facts that they can stand by,” he said.
The government arrested Kumar after a prominent Hindi news channel released a video in which it claimed that the left student leader was raising anti-India slogans such as India will be destroyed and so on.
Nitish Kumar said that Kumar was not involved in any anti-national act. “The central government has framed him,” he said three days ago.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people have gathered at Kanhaiya Kumar’s home in Begusarai in Bihar in support of the youth. There are also reports of local RSS and Bajrang Dal activists conducting processions and burning the effigies of Kumar.
According to the latest information, it is believed that students linked to Kashmiri independence activists were the ones who raised the slogans in JNU on February 9.
However, the arrest of the members of leftist students organizations has led to protests by leftist organizations in several campuses across the country, including in Jadhavpur University in Kolkata.