Unthinkable but it looks Kanhaiya Kumar’s name is making rounds at a time when the Nobel Committee is sending the request forms for nomination of its prestigious peace prize winners this year.
Though the entire process takes more than 8 months, the fact that Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, that too on sedition charges, has attracted world wide attention and the story has been making headlines for 8 days uninterrupted. No other news has made headlines the way JNU student union leader’s arrest has evoked protests all over the campuses against the government’s knee-jerk reaction to anti-India sloganeering.
Human Rights Watch and National Human Rights Commission have already singled out the over-reaction of Delhi Police to slap him with sedition when he repeatedly said he never raised slogans and gave a written statement that he never supported the anti-India sloganeering on the campus.
For Nobel Peace prize, the case of Kanhaiya Kumar fits the bill perfectly as it is against India which is making an impressive economic growth when others are slacking behind. Moreover, India has kept Kashmir problem an entirely domestic and refused to come under pressure. Now that the arrest of JNUSU leader and the consequent attacks on journalists inside the court have made headlines and tilted the whole issue, Indian government may come under pressure.
Unless the government reacts immediately and dilutes the issue, it may become a bigger headache for the country, especially with the US elections looming large in the next 10 months and several anti-India statements coming from the front runners. Kanhaiya Kumar issue should not weaken India’s image globally and the timing is absolutely unsuitable. Even China faced similar embarrassment in the past and India should be wary of that.
Being a party to the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1979, that prohibits restrictions on freedom of expression on national security grounds unless they are provided by law, strictly construed, and necessary and proportionate to address a legitimate threat, India should not have ventured to use the sedition law against a student leader for an incident which he himself condemned.