On February 9th, some students led by Delhi Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid raised slogans against India and in favor of “Freedom of Kashmir”. The slogans were “Go.. Go back India. Kashmir ki Azadi tak Jung Rahegi, jung Rahegi. Bharat ki Barbadi tak Jung Rahegi Jung Rahegi”
(Go back India. We will wage war until the freedom of Kashmir. We will wage war until the destruction of India.) These slogans were also accompanied with religious shouting:
“Say it loud, Allah-u-Akbar.”
“Afzal we are ashamed that your murderers are still alive.”
“Bharat you will be destroyed (splintered) by the will of Allah.”
Suffice it to say that the slogans were against India and invoked the Jehadi cry of Allah-hu-Akbar to destroy India!
The entire event – billed as a “Cultural Event” was done to commemorate the death sentence of Afzal Guru. A terrorist who was hanged on February 9th 2013 on order of Supreme Court. The slogans aligned with support for a Jehadi terrorist.
The issues these “students” were articulating were:
- Kashmir’s status vis-a-vis India
- Correctness of Afzal Guru’s sentence.
When they were cornered in any debate – they brought up the primacy of “Freedom of Expression” and their right to express their opinions. And how, to not allow them to do so is contrary to the spirit of JNU itself.
So basically, three issues have come up from this group: One, Kashmir’s Status; Two, Afzal Guru’s sentence and Three, Freedom of Speech. Let us look at all these three dispassionately to see the utter hypocrisy of the claims.
Kashmir Story: JNU Students were the Voice of Pak Spin and Waging War Against State
Umar Khalid – the organizer of the event – has been talking of how India has denied the “right of plebiscite”
The most shocking aspect of this episode was the anti-India slogans and statements made by the organizer of the event, Umar Khalid, on national news channels. He said, “I am not kashmiri but I stand with Kashmiris for Kashmir; half of Kashmir is occupied by India and other half by Pakistan; Kashmiris were promised a plebiscite 67 years ago, where is that plebiscite?” (Source)
This is a very common argument made by most Pakistanis. The truth of Kashmir is very different from the utter and downright lie promoted by Pakistan which is repeated by many of its sympathizers.
The fact is that there are Facts and there is a Pakistani version. There is no other alternative option. Let us understand the basics of Kashmir’s current status.
- When India was to be given freedom, there were two parts to “British India”. One the states over which British Monarchy had a “Dominion” status – or directly ruled the states and others which were the “Princely States”. Princely states paid a purse to the British to take care of their defense and to “let them be”.
- The status of these Princely states was to be decided by the rulers of those states. Since these were monarchies, there was no provision of “voice of the people” or democratic vote. The rulers of every Princely state decided on their own.
- Kashmir’s King Hari Singh decided on Independent status and not to merge with either Pakistan or India.
- In fact, when Hari Singh’s government sent “Standstill Agreements” to India and Pakistan for trade and essential items, Pakistan’s Government signed the Standstill Agreement and sent it back – thereby acquiescing to the facts that (1) Kashmir was an independent state, and (2) King Hari Singh was its sovereign ruler.
- It is due to Jinnah’s personal ego that Pakistan’s establishment hatched the plan for attack and takeover of Kashmir by Pakistan. A force led by Pakistani Army officer and paid for by the Pakistani revenues attacked Kashmir.
- When Indian contingent went to meet Hari Singh to understand the options and what he wanted, he agreed to merge with India.
- It was based on that Instrument of Accession, that India sent forces to repulse the attack by Pakistan.
- When – due to Nehru’s bad judgment and disregard of the pleas of Indian Army officers to send reinforcement over the British Army Chief of India (yes Indian Army was led by a British officer until 1950) – that India went to UN.
- In the Kashmir’s agreements, Pakistan was considered to be an aggressor. There were 3 steps – One, Pakistan’s complete and unequivocal withdrawal; Two, Indian forces’ withdrawal but keeping enough to handle any aggression by Pakistan; Three, once ALL these three conditions were met, plebiscite may happen.
- In 1963 a Sino-Pakistan Agreement handed over Trans-Karakoram Tract (an area of 5800 sq km) in the Kashmir region was ceded by Pakistan to China. Thus altering the status of Kashmir permanently.
- Therefore, not only did Pakistan never took its Army out, it altered the ownership of 1/3rd of Kashmir’s region and also that of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir area.
In such circumstances, plebiscite as an option has been null and void. Let us listen to how Christine Fair, a scholar on Pakistan literally schools a self professed Fulbright Scholar from Pakistan on his argument of “Plebiscite”. She tears his arguments apart making him look like a fool.
To know more on details of Kashmir story, let us listen to the facts in more detail from a Pakistani Kashmiri now settled in Canada.
As I said – there are two versions to the “Plebiscite Story of Kashmir” – The Factual Version and the Pakistani Spin Version. As Christine Fair suggests in another video – that she hasn’t ever met a Pakistani who has read the “UN Resolution” that they are so fond of quoting all the time!
So what gives? Here we have a student in Indian University talking of Plebiscite in Kashmir. One, he is fighting for Afzal Guru, and Second, he is voicing Pakistani spin version on Kashmir. And then he backs it up with “We will wage a war until the destruction of India“. Try this in any other country and you will be tried for “Waging War against the State”. In US many are arrested on this explicit statement of intent. In China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, and most of the world, it takes much less!
Afzal Guru: Why his Sentence was justified!
Afzal Guru’s main argument was that he did not take direct part in the Parliament attack of December 2001. He was – in legalese – an Accessory to the crime as per the prosecution. Even though Afzal denied any involvement, the facts were that he was found in possession of a laptop, which on analysis revealed complete details of the plot for attack on India’s Parliament.
But, Afzal may have escaped conviction in the Parliament attack case had he not been found with the laptop, which the terrorists used till December 12, 2001 to store minutest details of their activities till a day prior to the attack on Parliament. The SC in its August 4, 2005 judgment had recorded so.
“We hold that the laptop found in custody of Afzal and the results of analysis thereof would amply demonstrate that the laptop was the one used by the deceased terrorists contemporaneous to the date of incident (December 13, 2001) and it should have passed hands on the day of the incident or the previous day,” the court had said. (Source)
An accessory to a crime is a someone who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal. It is inconceivable that such an important store of information which was critical to the commission of the crime was given to Afzal without any involvement from his side.
Now, India’s Criminal law is based on British law. And in both British law and American laws, accessory to crime “before the facts” and Principals of the crime (those who directly committed the crime) are treated as same! Therefore, if you helped the actual criminal commit the crime but did not execute the crime yourself, and did not turn them in, then you are treated as no different than the one who actually committed the crime.
This principal was at play when Afzal Guru was given the Death Sentence. On August 10, 2011 the home ministry rejected his plea for clemency and on September, 7 2011 there was a bomb blast that killed 11 people outside the Delhi High Court. Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) claimed the responsibility of the attack. The Delhi Parliament attack was done by Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists (source).
Basically, there is little to differentiate between HuJI, LeT and JeM.
“The first Pakistani jihadist group emerged in 1980 … By 2002, Pakistan had become home to 24 militant groups … among them were LeT, JeM, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Harkat-al-Jihad-al-Islami (HJI). All these paramilitary groups, originally from the same source, had similar motivations and goals … HuM and HJI were both strongly linked with the Taliban.” [Zahid Hussain in Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam]
The attack was committed by one group of the Pakistan sponsored Jehadi coalition and when the sentence of Afzal Guru, the main accessory to crime, was confirmed another group HuJI retaliated. If Afzal Guru was not working along with the JeM and LeT terrorists who attacked the Indian Parliament, why were these outfits so worried and deemed it important to retaliate on his behalf?
It is another matter that Afzal Guru – a mastermind of the attack on India’s supreme seat of democracy – was still given a due hearing in the courts.
When you combine the voicing of Pakistani establishment’s spin on Kashmir along with support for someone who clearly participated in Indian Parliament attack, then you have a situation where someone is siding with an establishment (Pakistan’s ISI) that is known to have no regard for any form of democracy and summarily kills people while arguing for the democratic rights for aggressors on the state itself.
If India is on the wrong and Pakistan’s version and ways are the right ones, then why is someone with that narrative then appealing to the State’s very laws that he says are regressive in Kashmir? If Pakistani policies are your benchmark then let us play by Pakistani laws shall we?
You cannot have your arguments both ways! Either Pakistani Military State is the Touchstone of Human Rights or Indian Democracy is. If you side with Pakistani Military state’s version, then you morally and otherwise lose the right to argue using Indian legal framework! And, if you do, then you cannot trash the courts and still seem fair. Afzal Guru’s sentence was confirmed by Supreme Court of India and not RSS or BJP or any Hindu organization. Any argument which confuses between the two stinks of Machiavellian speak!
Freedom of Speech or Bigotry?
If Hitler or Lenin or Mao were to argue for “Freedom of Speech”, then the whole argument is itself a laughable and imbecile rant.
When some parts of media hinted that Dr. Subramanian Swamy may be the Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Student Union leaders agitated against it. Dr. Subramanian Swamy is a world renowned economist who taught Economics at Harvard. He has personal views against the Islamization of India and the religious politics. But that is an opinion. His own personal freedom to have an opinion. It does not detract from his obvious scholarship in his subject and global stature.
But what the JNUSU leaders did in their revolt against that “decision” clearly showed how their prejudices were. Dr. Swamy has never talked of any ancient science or myths. He is a world class economist and has taught in Delhi School of Economics and Harvard University. Obviously, JNU cannot be beyond these institutions in his chosen subject!
“The student community of JNU has taken very strong note of news reports pertaining to the possible appointment of Subramanian Swamy as the vice-chancellor of JNU. Be it Mr Swamy or any other regressive figure, the student community will resist any attempts at saffronisation of JNU with all its might. JNUSU has consistently raised its voice against the blatant attempts by the Modi government at backdoor appointments of RSS members to key institutions, against Hindutva myths being passed off as “ancient science”, against introduction of regressive content in textbooks and against the homogenisation of culture in the name of vegetarianism, linguistic uniformity, etc,” says the statement from vice-president, Shehla Rashid Shora, on behalf of JNUSU, issued on Wednesday evening (source)
Baba Ramdev was invited to give a lecture in JNU by some group. He was to be the keynote speaker at the valedictory ceremony of the “22nd International Congress of Vedanta” on December 30. However, the same JNUSU leaders protested against him as well. Their language betrayed their hatred for any symbol of Hinduism. Ramdev’s greatest claim to fame is his popularization of Yoga. Many so-called “Seculars” have protested Yoga’s introduction in public life in India. Something that resonates with the propaganda of extreme right-wing Christian groups in the West and US. Here is how the JNUSU’s Vice President reacted.
JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) vice president Shehla Rashid, confirming the cancellation, said: “We had gone to talk to the administration, explaining our position and submitted a written memorandum. I just received an email from the JNU administration, saying Ramdev’s talk has been cancelled and that he won’t be visiting.”
“I want to congratulate all the progressive sections of the university, including teachers and students, who supported this demand. It is a victory of the progressive tradition of JNU that Ramdev’s visit stands cancelled. We will continue to fight against the onslaught of regressive ideologies,” she added.
The “22nd International Congress of Vedanta” will be held during December 27-30 at JNU’s Convention Centre.
Earlier, in a statement, Rashid said: “The silent right-wing onslaught on JNU continues. It is very unfortunate to know that JNU, a co-organiser of the ’22nd International Congress of Vedanta’, has allowed Baba Ramdev to be invited as a keynote speaker in the valedictory ceremony.
“It does not befit the stature of an academic institution like JNU to have persons with such a questionable and shameful background to address an academic gathering.” (Source)
To understand her context and where she was coming from, it is important to understand her prejudices. In one of her several tweets which show bigotry carefully wrapped in – yes, of course – “Freedom of Speech” – she adjectivizes Saffron (which is synonymous in popular discourse with Hinduism) as Filth!
A mind so bigoted and so full of not just opposing view but of hatred is not violent only because the person does not have access to weapons. But when such minds go ahead and articulate their intention very clearly – i.e; to wage a war against the state while siding with the terrorists who are actually waging that war, then it is no longer Freedom of Speech or even Sedition. It is a Statement to Wage War against the State and to create mayhem.
To wait for such people to actually hatch a terror attack along with the terror groups and backing them up like what Afzal Guru did is not something that can be allowed in any sane lawful society!
JNU Students were Working at the Behest of LeT
While Umar Khalid – the organizer – is absconding, the Home Ministry has said that as per inputs from the Intelligence agencies, the students were supported by LeT. In fact, Hafiz Sayed has been tweeting support for the JNU event organizers. But the inputs seem to suggest a far more sinister situation!
Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement that the JNU event had received “support” from terror outfit LeT founder Hafiz Saeed was based on inputs from “different agencies”, a home ministry spokesperson said on Sunday.
“Statement of the home minister is based on the inputs available from different agencies,” a home ministry spokesperson said without elaborating. (Source)
Of course, those who were standing along with these “students” in JNU are cynical of this statement. But they might have mud on their faces if something was revealed, although it never is to protect the sources.
Why JNU Ruckus?
In the last one month, since Anupam Kher came out with his televised speech about the atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits, the narrative for Kashmiri Pandits was now raising its head. Pandits who have been marginalized, abused and treated shabbily have never been heard! So for the first time, their voice was heard. And not just that, but with Anupam Kher being refused the visa by Pakistani consulate and their obvious lie which was subsequently exposed, it was very clear that they were losing their narrative. One, Kashmiri pandit voice was being heard. Two, their own duplicity and fascist attitudes were bared in Anupam Kher’s case.
To “win” the prominence of the Kashmiri Muslim atrocity narrative back, they would have found JNU students and Afzal Guru’s death sentence anniversary to be the ideal vehicle. And the Jehadi machinery was activated.
In the end, let us be clear that call for destruction and mayhem is not a right and freedom. It is a crime and abetment to homicide and killing. A line needs to be drawn where Freedom ends and Crime begins. That is why the JNU “students” turned Terror abettors need to be tried as terrorists! It is not just the right of every peaceful citizen but also should be the call of everyone who believes in democracy but denounces fascism!
Post script: The confession by Afzal Guru was very specific. Here is the footage of what he said.