Kanhaiya And An Electric Moment Close To Midnight At JNU

“It is often hard to assess how successful a political speech really is. Journalists use turnout, crowd response and their own formulations to gauge, but on Thursday night, the press pack at Jawaharlal Nehru University was unusually unanimous.

Hanging around the edges of the cheering JNU crowd, they were all drawn by the voice they had last heard on a cell-phone recording pleading his case in front of a Supreme Court panel. That voice which almost seemed broken by police brutality, was now transformed. Kanhaiya Kumar, fresh and energetic at close to midnight, made the crowds chant his name, made them laugh, spoke of freedom and shouted “Azaadi,” again and again, in a span of 45 minutes.”



Meeting Kanhaiya Kumar, Who Made Azaadi An Anthem – By Barkha Dutt

“Yet, when I started talking to Kanhaiya, he spoke with absolute clarity and resolve. “I had a lot of time to think in jail,” he told me. “I used to watch every bit of news about me on TV, I read all the editorials. And then I thought, everyone has said something about me; everyone thinks they know me, so many people have judged me. Now, I will write my own story… Ab main bhi likhoonga apni kahaani.”


Where we learnt that a free mind depended on a physically and socially free space.

Entering JNU, for me, was like entering a zone of freedom, overwhelming freedom. At the very first glance, JNU was like a vast expanse to spread one’s wings in — long-winding roads and overgrown valleys, the facility of being outdoors late into the night (what that could mean to a young girl!), milling in and around the library till 11 pm, mess meetings (no pun intended) after dinner, the chance to befriend anyone from anywhere, any class, caste or nationality (thanks to JNU’s admission system based on multiple deprivation points), and above all, the possibility of falling in love across all social barriers. And the teachers let you hold forth endlessly, call them by first name, be flexible about class attendance, take open-book exams and even drink tea and smoke with them.

– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/debate-jnusu-students-thank-god-for-jnu/#sthash.lEalGFDA.dpuf

No Proof Required: Deconstruction of a crime

Students, or anybody else for that matter, should be allowed to pontificate, as long as it doesn’t involve a crime — and mere words don’t constitute one.

Why would anyone consider holding a vigil for a convicted, and hanged, terrorist? Because of the legal murkiness associated with the case. Two facts surrounding the case are noteworthy: First, that there was a confession by Guru, which the Supreme Court (SC) found unreliable and stated that “it is also contended that the language and tenor of the confessional statement… was a tailor-made statement of which they had no knowledge” (Paragraph 174, SC Judgment). Therefore, “all these lapses and violations of procedural safeguards guaranteed in the statute itself impel us to hold that it is not safe to act on the alleged confessional statement of Afzal and place reliance on this item of evidence on which the prosecution places heavy reliance” (Paragraph 185, SC Judgment). Second, the evidence used to convict Guru was all circumstantial. There is nothing per se wrong about using circumstantial evidence to convict a person, but there does seem to be a problem with the death sentence for a conviction that is just based on circumstantial evidence. But seriously, would demonstrations in favour of Afzal Guru have any credibility if the evidence was substantially more than circumstantial? My guess is no.

– See more here.

Times Now First Denies Airing Doctored Video, Then Concedes it Did

Times Now has accused The Wire of running a “factually inaccurate” story about the showing of a doctored video on the channel. The charge is laughable. The story in question is an article by me, published on February 19, 2015, titled On Kanhaiya: It is Time to Stand Up and Be Counted.

The doctored video, created by persons unknown, was intended to portray JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, now in jail facing charges of sedition, as someone who shouted slogans in favour of Kashmir’s azadi(Hindi for independence). The video was aired on several TV channels, including Times Now, and the article in question noted this fact.

On the afternoon of February 19, Arnab Goswami called me and insisted that Times Now had not shown the video at all and that when BJP spokesman Sambit Patra attempted to show it on air, he had stopped Patra from doing so. Taking Goswami, someone whom I have known for years, at his word, I edited the article to remove the reference to Times Nowand added a note at the end stating:

In an earlier version of this article, Times Now was listed as one of the channels that broadcast the doctored tape of Kanhaiya Kumar. The channel’s head, Arnab Goswami has clarified that a BJP spokesman, Sambit Patra, sought to play the clip on his iPad during a debate but was not allowed to as the clip was not verified, and the clip was never played on the channel.

Soon thereafter, Times Now put up a notice on its channel (pictured above) in which it said the charge of having aired doctored footage was “factually incorrect”. When a reader of The Wire sent me the YouTube link which showed the doctored footage being aired on the channel, it became clear that Arnab Goswami had misled me.

Read more here