Kanhaiya Kumar Welcomes Promise of Scrapping Sedition Law in Congress Manifesto


PTI, Apr 3, 2019, 9:32 AM IST

Patna: Former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who shot to fame after being booked for treason following his participation in a gathering where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, on Tuesday welcomed the promise of scrapping the sedition law made in the Congress manifesto released by its president Rahul Gandhi.

The law, which was introduced by the British imperialists, has always been misused. It was misused against Bhagat Singh and Mahatma Gandhi. After Independence, it has been misused to throttle any number of writers, artists filmmakers and thinkers.

“The latest instance of its misuse we saw in BJP-ruled Assam, where peasant leader Akhil Gogoi was booked under this law just because he raised a voice against the citizenship bill,” Kumar said in Begusarai, where he is in the fray as CPI candidate.

He, however, added it is going to be a long process. “First the Congress has to come to power to fulfil such a promise. Even after that, it cannot be done overnight as it would require a constitutional amendment. Nevertheless, I am glad that a beginning has been made. Constitutional remedy is one of the most beautiful features of our democracy,” he said.

“All governments, including this one, had misused this draconian law. However, I do not wish to be dragged into the debate as to why the Congress is coming up with such a promise now with its governments having been guilty of similar misuse. I would say better late than never,” Kumar, who hit the headlines after the sedition row erupted three years ago, said.

Kumar, then the JNUSU president, was arrested for organising a stir on the university campus to protest against the capital punishment awarded to 2001 Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.

The gathering, for which the university administration had withdrawn permission, was held by activists of several Left-leaning outfits. Kumar was himself associated with All India Students’ Association, the CPI student wing.

A clash had erupted when activists of pro-BJP ABVP stormed the venue leading to a skirmish during which some anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. Union Home minister Rajnath Singh claimed a few days later that the gathering had the support of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Kumar’s arrest had evoked a huge outcry.

In the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat, Kumar is taking on former Union minister Giriraj Singh. Initially, he was expected to get support from the ‘mahagathbandhan’ of which the Congress is a part.

However, Lalu Prasad’s RJD eventually decided to throw the hat in the ring, fielding Tanveer Hassan, who was the runner-up in 2014 and was likely to benefit if votes were split between the young Left leader and the hexagenarian BJP veteran, both of whom belong to the same caste.

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