New Delhi, March 26: Out on bail after spending
more than three weeks in Delhi's Tihar Jail for sedition over alleged
anti-national slogans, JNU student-activist Umar Khalid has said he and
his other university colleagues were wary of a pre-planned attack by
right-wing Hindu groups.
In an interview with IANS, Khalid, 28,
said that he was under a constant "threat" even after being
conditionally set free by the Delhi High Court.
remains. I still feel I am deprived of my freedom. We are not free.
Threat stays even now," Khalid said, seated in the Jawaharlal Nehru
University (JNU) lawns where he had allegedly shouted anti-India slogans
in a controversial event on Kashmir in February.
"We fear that we might be attacked. And we know that it will be a highly planned attack," the PhD scholar said.
who does he think could attack him and five other JNU students,
including their union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, branded anti-nationals?
tragedy of our country at this time is that to speak of freedom is a
crime. Those who are ruling us want to push us into slavery. They want
to ban thought, ideas. But they can't be banned."
He said it has
become clear after the controversy around JNU's Kashmir event that the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is employing a new tactic, which
actually is "old wine in a new bottle".
"They had earlier divided
(the nation) on religious lines and it was a Hindu-Muslim binary. What
has changed of late is that, the binary has been replaced with
nationalist (versus) 'anti-nationals'," said Khalid, a born Muslim but
who believes in Marxism.
"Those who do not subscribe to their
(RSS') ideology are 'anti-nationals'." He said he himself doesn't
believe in "nationalism - an ideology always used by fascists".
"World wars have been fought and genocides have happened in the name of nationalism," he said.
if he thought the Congress would have dealt with JNU students
differently, Khalid said the previous government "did not go after
educational institutes, the way the BJP is doing".
inherent to RSS' and BJP's functioning. They want to saffronise
institutes and re-write the (country's) history," he said, adding it was
the only subtle difference between the Congress and the BJP
In terms of economic and foreign policies, he said, both largely shared the vision.
the Kashmir issue that raised the political brouhaha leading to his
arrest, Khalid said he didn't "think it is seditious to say Kashmir is
an important issue to resolve".
He didn't believe that either Pakistan or the Indian government was dealing with the issue from a humanitarian point of view.
except for political, economic and strategic interests, have not seen
Kashmir from any other prism," Khalid said, adding "people of Kashmir
are missing" in their approach towards Kashmir.
(Ruwa Shah can be contacted at email@example.com)