Kanhaiya Kumar

Kanhaiya Kumar (Grey)Although it was third death anniversary of Afzal Guru, but aftershocks of his hanging continue to shake people and institutions, alike. Behind the latest stir was a comrade, whose penchant for calling spade a spade has already landed him in jail.

But after spending over a week behind bars, JNUSU president Comrade Kanhaiya Kumar is at it again. After Afzal, he spoke of women rights and roared to continue raising issue of rapes in Kashmir by Indian army personnel.

A votary of Kashmir being integral part of India, Kanhaiya vouches for campaigning against controversial AFSPA. A leader of India’s Left backed All India Student Federation (AISF), Kanhaiya was elected president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union in 2015.

Earlier his remarks didn’t go well in certain sections. The right wing Hindu nationalist ABVP shortly alleged that he raised pro-Pakistan slogans at the Afzal Guru Death anniversary commemoration event. With the result, he was charged for sedition.

But when it seemed that the worst was over for the JNU’s chief comrade, he stirred up another controversy. It was World Women’s Day when Kanhaiya held Indian army personnel responsible for committing certain rapes in Kashmir. His remarks were enough to set some pro-BJP lobby on fire, which not only dubbed him absurdist, but also accused him of belittling doings of Indian army in Kashmir.

Leading the crusade was senior scribe Shekhar Gupta. He used twitter to castigate the comrade saying: Kanhaiya losing it to say Army rapes women in JK, plugging stereotype of rough 90’s… But social media shortly reacted, saying: Look, who is talking?

As the debate raged on, the netizens reminded Gupta of his own assertions regarding Indian army.

Speaking at an event in Srinagar last year, Gupta had said that when Indian Express—the journal he edited till 2015 before quitting—broke the story of Pathribal fake encounter, and did a number of investigative follow up stories, he was getting phone calls from the Indian Army who would question his reportage. But then, who doesn’t know the fast changing stance of the ‘capital’ reporters.

Reporting anything truthful, embarrassing, or a setback was seen to be anti-national, Gupta said in Srinagar. Maybe now, Kanhaiya must tell Gupta what he said in Delhi: Your words back to you. And what were those words? O’ yes—at least read newspapers, Comrade!

-Riyaz Ul Khaliq

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