Afzal Guru was a known Kashmiri separatist who was hanged in 2013 for his role in the Indian Parliament attack, to many he is seen as a hero and a martyr but to the Indian executive he was viewed as a terrorist who was played a major role in the 2001 attack on parliament. To the others especially the Kashmiri’s he was a hero, a martyr and believed in the Idea of “Aazadi” which means freedom and was very vocal about it. To many people his execution was clear evidence on how India uses its democratic institutions to oppress the Kashmiris and denying them the simple right of defense.
Students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) recently help protests on Afzal Guru’s anniversary since his hanging in 2013 and termed his hanging as judicial killing. The students also claimed to be in solidarity with Kashmiri migrants and in solidarity with them in their struggle, this led to the arrest of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition.
The police were alerted of the protests after videos went viral and had to take action after seeing the anti-India slogans and banners that were raised as a result of the protests. The students threatened not to let classes continue until Kanhaiya is released and were strongly joined by teachers at JNU. These events led to the release of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on a Rs. 10,000 bail in his sedition case by a New Delhi court.
To many Kanhaiya Kumar is viewed as nationalist who is a strong critic of the Prime Minister Modi.
After a careful scrutiny, and research concerning JNU protests, I concluded that university students have a very large role to play when it comes to government policies. The universities also have a role to play to ensure that there is responsible academia in our institutions; this is because the fact that people in India have a freedom of speech does not necessarily mean they have the right to speak against their own country.
The students of JNU in this case had the luxury of freedom of speech however; they also have a duty and obligation to respect the motherland and the country’s constitution. The executive on the other hand also have to ensure that they practice responsible governance and respect the country’s interest. This is done to ensure protests like the JNU protests do not occur since India has suffered due to past Tyrant leaders.