February 24, 2016 11:55:14 pm
“I urge the Prime Minister to understand a mother’s pain. Kanhaiya is innocent and represents youth power. Main kanoon nahi samajhti hoon par ek baat jarur jaanti hoon, ki mera beta Bharat ka lal hai (I do not understand law but I do know that my son is the son of India).” This is JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s mother Meena Devi’s appeal to PM Narendra Modi.
Standing at the entrance of her mud-and-tile house here, Meena Devi, an anganwadi worker, says she can wait a few more days for Kanhaiya’s bail, but she cannot “bear the pangs of a sedition case” against him.
“While the PM talks of encouraging youth power, some students including my son are being targeted. One should rise above politics and treat students as students,” she says.
Meena Devi has not been keeping well for the past few days, especially on account of the stream of visitors, including mediapersons, at her home.
The house, meanwhile, bears evidence of the support Kanhaiya has. The pillars carry slogans such as “Mother India”. Two painters from Patna, Veer and Rakesh, have drawn an alligator with an open mouth next to JNU students, some carrying red flags, running to safety, while a message reads “Save JNU, save India”. Another painting shows Kanhaiya as a “red star”. Alongside it is written a portion of Kanhaiya’s speech.
Meena Devi says she had an intuition that “something would go wrong” ever since Kanhaiya campaigned for the Teghra CPI candidate in the 2015 elections. The CPI candidate ended up as second runner-up behind the BJP. RJD won the seat.
Kanhaiya’s father Jai Shanker Singh, bedridden since 2013, keeps his eyes glued to the TV. “At least two channels portrayed my son as a villain, but with Delhi Police not being able to show any evidence, most people now believe Kanhaiya was framed. My son is being talked about internationally, but a poor father like me only wants Kanhaiya be cleared of the charges,” says Singh, thanking the almost uninterrupted power supply that allows him to watch TV.
Kanhaiya’s brother Prince Singh, who stays in Bihat to take care of his parents, says: “My elder brother and uncle are in Delhi, speaking to lawyers. I believe Kanhaiya’s case has something to do with his expressing solidarity with Hyderabad University student Rohith Vemula. We are also upset with the Delhi Police Commissioner for going back on his word on Kanhaiya’s bail.” Prince, who was preparing for UPSC exams in Delhi, has not been able to return to his studies since he came to Bihat last December.
Pratibha Devi, an aunt of Kanhaiya who came from Mokama to express solidarity with the family, says:” Do not go by
the tiled house. Khapda me hi pothi patra chhipa rahta hai (tiles conceal wisdom)”. Bhisma Prasad Singh, another relative from Mokama, adds that “nothing could be proved against Kanhaiya as he has not said anything. I sense a hero emerging from the crisis.”
A Begusarai Police team has been deployed near Kanhaiya’s house to prevent any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, the local CPI office is buzzing with activity. Bihat, which comes under Teghra Assembly segment, is known as “Leningrad” of Bihar. Until recently, the CPI used to win all seven seats of Begusarai. The BJP wrested the Teghra seat in 2010.
Local CPI leader Shiv Shanker Singh, who mentored Kanhaiya during his graduation days at Patna, says: “Kanhaiya’s core ideology centres on the fight for equality and socialism. While Delhi police has a poor case against Kanhaiya, the episode has given a boost to Left politics. The fact remains that the BJP wants to moderate freedom of expression in universities.”
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