New York: Expressing their solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were arrested in a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy, students from two US Universities expressed their concern. They gathered at Washington Square Park showing their support.
Students, including Indian-Americans, from New York University (NYU) and the Cooper Union college in New York, gathered at Washington Square Park to support JNU Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and other students who were arrested on sedition charges last month, the Washington Square News newspaper reported on Monday.
An Indian-American student said during the protest that the primary purpose of the event was to raise awareness about Kumar’s arrest.
“[Kumar] was arrested for making these comments against the government, even though he was not actually saying anything against the government, he was just having this poetry reading,” Anjana Sreedhar said.
“We are protesting against the fact that he was arrested under the sedition law which is very antiquated and very outdated,” Sreedhar added.
Sreedhar, along with several other students read English transcripts of Kumar’s speech during the poetry reading and asked if his words warranted arrest. They also encouraged passersby and attendees to attend a forum discussion at the Cooper Union next week.
A student activist at the NYU Sumathy Kumar said she attended the rally because she wants to show her support to the JNU students who were “beaten and arrested and so much violence was being committed against them just for speaking out”.
“I am an activist, and I think we take it for granted sometimes that we have the right to dissent and that home where my parents are from and where I call my ancestors are from, they are not allowed to dissent,” Kumar said.
Anthropology professor Tejaswini Ganti said that she was glad students were voicing support for JNU’s students and that universities should be an open forum for all opinions – even those that dissent against the governing party.(IANS)
About a year ago, the state of Tamil Nadu lost its ‘Amma’. Since then, the state has witnessed political chaos with three Chief Ministers and an ‘almost demise’ of AIADMK. DMK and BJP were seen to be taking a clear advantage of the situation. Having Sasikala in jail and Dinakaran battling with central agencies, many say BJP has played its cards well.
T.T.V Dinakaran, the nephew of V.K. Sasikala, is a politician of Tamil Nadu. He is facing a case with ED probing deposits money into his accounts between 1991 and 1995. He has also served as a member of Lok Sabha, as well as Rajya Sabha.
Who is V.K. Sasikala?
J Jayalalithaa used to call Sasikala her ‘soul sister’. Other than two occasions when Jayalalithaa cut her ties with Sasikala, the later was known as someone ‘Amma’ couldn’t do without. V.K. Sasikala was like a shadow of Jayalalithaa but not much was known about her.
However, everything changed on 5th December 2016 when Jayalalithaa died. Within 12 hours, Sasikala appointed O Panneerselvam as acting Chief Minister. She took over as general secretary of AIADMK when the general council unanimously passed a resolution. It was the first time when Sasikala came into light. The world heard her voice for the first time.
She allegedly forced OPS to resign in an ambition to become Chief Minister herself. But when OPS made revelations to the media about Sasikala, the politics of Tamil Nadu went into chaos. What followed was her conviction in a Disappropriate Assets case, she was sentenced to 4 years in jail.
Dinakaran comes in
Dinakaran had moved to Poes Garden along with his aunt Sasikala following Jayalalithaa’s death. He was appointed deputy general secretary hours before Sasikala surrendered. Five years ago, he was expelled by Jayalalithaa after reports of him interfering in the party and government functioning came in.
He was then reportedly lobbying with the rebel members of OPS came to join back the parent party. It wasn’t long after when he was contesting the RK Nagal bypoll (vacated by Jayalalithaa) as an AIADMK candidate. He had a staunch victory. However, his cards didn’t go well when the Income Tax department stepped in.
Several of his loyalists were raided and the election stood cancelled. The Delhi Police had lodged an FIR, after a few days, accusing him of bribing the EC for the party’s symbol. Shortly, he faced an arrest in Delhi.
Things go wrong for Dinakaran
Sasikala in jail, Dinakaran facing Delhi Police, and several document incriminating ministers. This situation had led their faction to the knowledge that their ‘tracks stand exposed’ and hence, they sought protection. In these circumstances, OPS was another name of protection. Since he was the one with Delhi behind his back. Everyone knows Delhi backed OPS despite the objection of Tamil Nadu BJP unit.
With the tables turning, the same people who had ditched OPS in favour of Dinakaran, went running back to him. They said that a single family cannot control AIADMK. They demand Sasikala and Dinakaran must quit. People who had requested Sasikala to become the General Secretary now say ‘unity’ and the Government are of prime importance.
Alleged attempts at bribing voters.
Allegedly engaging with a history-sheeter to pay EC official.
These were Dinakaran’s mistakes. They came up in the light of his impatience to gain power. All he didn’t know was that central agencies were waiting for them. The agencies acted once the mistakes came in. They warned his associates.
The same Dinakaran who was in complete control during the dramatic ‘vote of confidence’, has no one worthwhile to back him now. His loyalists are now saying that the real AIADMK is headed by OPS.
The plot was understood. There was no other option than playing along. Dinakaran agreed to abide by the party and assured he wouldn’t fight back. He even stood for the merger of OPS faction back into the party. All these points towards the fact that he is aware that his game is over. He is no more in the situation to play the game of politics, now his game is survival.