Please do not call my son a terrorist,” says JNUSU President Kanhaiya’s mother as she breaks down while watching the news flashes on TV at a neighbour’s house in Bihar’s Begusarai district.
“We are constantly watching TV after we got to know that Kanhaiya has been arrested. I hope the police do not beat him too much. He has never disrespected his parents, forget the country. Please do not call my son a terrorist. He cannot be one,” his mother Meena Devi told media over the phone.
Meena, an Anganwadi worker who earns Rs 3,500 per month, says she and her eldest son Manikant are the sole bread-winners for the family as her 65-year-old husband has been bedridden for seven years due to paralysis.
Kanhaiya’s father Jaishankar Singh, who was a farmer, said his son is being framed into the case for opposing Hindutva politics.
“My son has been part of so many campaigns against the BJP government, be it on fellowships or suicide of a Dalit student in Hyderabad university. He is being victimised for his opposition to Hindutva politics,” he said.
“Kanhaiya can never be anti-national. There is no question of his following an ideology of anti-nationalism. He is a nationalist like hundreds of thousands of youths of his age. He cannot insult ‘Mother India’,” he said.
Last year in September, Kanhaiya swept the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union polls with 1,029 votes to become its president — the first from the All India Students Federation (AISF), the student wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Another of his brothers, Prince, who is preparing for competitive exams, said the entire family has been associated with CPI for generations.
Alleging that Kanhaiya’s arrest has been politicised, Prince said, “It is alarming that anti-national forces, which played no role in the national movement, are today branding my brother and his university as anti-national. This issue is not about Kanhaiya alone, it’s bigger than him.”
Kanhaiya was arrested earlier this week in connection with a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy registered over the holding of an event at JNU against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. During the event, anti-India slogans were alleged to have been raised.
The JNUSU president, who has been popular among students right from the day of the presidential debate held before JNUSU elections, had asserted a day before his arrest that he did not need a “certificate of patriotism from RSS”.
Kanhaiya studied in RKC High School in Bihar’s Barauni area before joining College of Commerce in Patna in 2004. After completing his graduation from Nalanda Open University, Kumar moved to Delhi and subsequently joined JNU for his MPhil in 2011. He is now a third year PhD student in the School of International Studies.