US election 2016: Trump and Rubio row over Islam ‘hate’

US election 2016: Trump and Rubio row over Islam ‘hate’

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has attacked Donald Trump for saying that Islam hates America, in a televised debate in Miami.

Mr Rubio, who faces a do-or-die contest in Florida on Tuesday, said Islam had a problem with radicalisation but said that many Muslims were proud Americans.

“Presidents can’t just say whatever they want. It has consequences,” he said, to cheers from the audience.

The four Republicans heeded pleas from party leaders to have a civil debate.

Unlike in the last TV event, which was littered with personal insults, this one was more substantive with a focus on policy.

“So far, I cannot believe how civil it’s been up here,” Mr Trump observed at one point.

But on the issue of Islam, there was clear distance between Mr Trump and the others. Mr Trump stood by comments he made earlier in the day when he said “Islam hates us, there’s a tremendous hatred”, and railed against political correctness.

But Mr Rubio said: “I’m not interested in being politically correct. I’m interested in being correct.”

Analysis: Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Miami

It’s now clear that the remaining candidates in the Republican field have run out of ideas on how to stop Donald Trump’s march to the Republican nomination.

In early debates the top-tier candidates largely ignored the New York billionaire, hoping he’d self-destruct on his own. In the past few showdowns, they’ve gone after him relentlessly.

Now, in this 12th event, they started by avoiding confrontation, then prodded him only ever-so-gently.

“I can’t believe how civil it’s been up here,” Mr Trump said at one point.

Given that Mr Trump has a lead in convention delegates and is ahead in many of the states set to vote on Tuesday, a fireworks-free debate is nothing but good news for the front-runner.

While Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tried to draw contrasts with Mr Trump on issues like foreign policy, trade protectionism and his reliance on anti-Islamic rhetoric, the enthusiasm just isn’t there anymore. Mr Cruz, in particular, launched most of his barbs with sighs and head-shaking resignation, rather than ferocity.

This race isn’t over yet, but Thursday night’s proceedings show that – barring some sort of massive upheaval – the end is likely in sight.

Read Anthony’s analysis in full


All three of Mr Trump’s rivals distanced themselves from Mr Trump’s statement in December that in the fight against terrorist “you have to take out their families”.

“We’ve never targeted innocent civilians and we’re not going to start now” Mr Cruz said.

When Mr Trump was challenged on the legality of targeting civilians, he said that America had to be able to fight on “an equal footing”.

“We have to obey the laws, but we have to expand those laws”, he said.

On Tuesday five large states will vote for presidential candidate in each party, with Ohio Governor John Kasich and Mr Rubio, a Florida senator, under pressure to win their home states.

Marco Rubio and Donald Trump

Mr Trump picked up a key endorsement of Ben Carson, who last week dropped out of the race before the debate.

Debate highlights:

  • Mr Trump reaffirmed his opposition to H1-B visa programme, which allows US firms to employ highly skilled foreigners, saying “it’s bad for our workers”
  • Mr Rubio said he would delay retirement until 68 to help address the $150bn social security shortfall
  • And he accused Mr Trump’s numbers of “not adding up” because he said he could save social security by eliminating waste
  • Mr Cruz said he was going to build a wall, triple the border control and end welfare benefits for undocumented
  • Mr Trump said he would “make education great” and that former Republican candidate Ben Carson would be involved
  • And calling Vladimir Putin “strong” did not mean he was endorsing him as a good leader, said Mr Trump
  • Mr Kasich disagreed with Mr Rubio, who said he did not believe in manmade climate change

The candidates also clashed over President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba next week.

Mr Rubio, whose parents were Cuban immigrants, said he was opposed to efforts to restore relations until Cuba improved its human rights record.

But Mr Trump said he was not opposed to a US-Cuba deal, but it should be on better terms for the US.

The other Cuban-American candidate on the stage, Mr Cruz, accused Mr Trump of supporting the Obama-Clinton policy on Cuba


Islamic State commander Omar Shishani targeted in US strike in Syria

Islamic State commander Omar Shishani targeted in US strike in Syria

The US military says it targeted a top commander of so-called Islamic State in an air strike in Syria last week.

An initial assessment suggested Tarkhan Batirashvili, a Georgian known as Omar Shishani, was likely killed along with 12 other militants, officials said.

The strike took place on Friday near the north-eastern town of Shaddadi, where Shishani had reportedly been sent to bolster local IS forces.

There was no immediate confirmation of his death from IS or its supporters.

The US had offered a $5m (£3.5m) reward for Shishani, who it declared a specially designated global terrorist in September 2014.

Calcutta Club The Telegraph National Debate 2016


What: Camellia Group presents Calcutta Club The Telegraph National Debate 2016
Where: Calcutta Club lawns
Motion: In the opinion of the house tolerance is the new intolerance
Verdict: Dead heat or tie, after show of hands


According to me the well charged debate was well coordinated by Mr.Mukul Keshavan.Suhel Seth gave a nice introductory speech, though against team had stronger opinion the debate was still drawn. Anupam Kher was more interested on saving his and BJPs face rather than to debate on the topic while Mr.Surjewala was inclined to blame BJP holding a list of atrocity.Kajol's speech was plain and simple, while Justice Ashok Ganguly spoke about Supreme court order and challenged the supreme court. Atlast Barkha Dutt's speech concluded with some strong points supporting Kanhaiya Kumar. In mine opinion the against team was better.I have provided the synopsis of the speeches to let you decide yourself.  


 Suhel Seth

Marketing maven

 What we should really be intolerant about is intolerance itself. What  we should be intolerant about is poverty, the subjugation of rights  and opportunities. Why am I being part of an intolerance discourse  when actually I am not intolerant? Why are we dividing India on  lines of caste and creed and religion and exposing every little  nuanced statement put out by stupid people as the final yardstick of  this particular government… and I don’t mean this particular  government… I mean that particular government. I am not for once  supporting the fact that the Prime Minister doesn’t speak up when  he should. I think he should… but that’s for the Prime Minister to  decide.

 We don’t need a media circus playing on our television channels  every evening, almost suggesting that our idea of India has either  failed or is about to diminish. Because the idea of India is stronger than stupid utterances that will be made in a democracy as vibrant as ours. What’s happened today is that we are living in media circus times… so if an idiot says something stupid, and there are many across political parties, those become the national discourse.

We are still a tolerant country. Don’t get taken in by this whole mantra of intolerance. There are stupid things happening in this country, but people will understand that basic commodities and basic rights of humanity are more important than beef bans. People will realise that you can’t alter the discourse of this country on the basis of one ideology, one principle or one faith.

We need to be more tolerant about the word ‘intolerance’. We believe in a holistic and composite India.



I’ll leave the politics and speak about intolerance elsewhere… meaning myself!

I have always been an intolerant girl. Twenty years ago, I was pictured as a demure and docile Indian girl being brought up in London by a caring and strict father who allowed me to go on my first Europe trip with friends. And there I met this boy who — quite famously — held my outstretched hand and pulled me into a train’s compartment. But once on the train, he and I were so totally on the wrong track. After all, how could any good Bharatiya nari ever tolerate someone as frisky and flirtatious as this boy called Raj, with overgrown hair and undergrown manners. The boy I was seriously intolerant of back in 1995, was Shah Rukh Khan. It was only later that I as Simran managed to not just tolerate him but also fall madly in love with because, after all, the Dilwale had to take the Dulhania away!

In 1998, I was flying from Paris to India… on the flight I met Shekhar, who managed to irritate me in so many ways. I was severely intolerant of him until I realised he had a heart of gold…. After all, Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha. A year later, reel turned to real and I was married to this man you all know as Ajay Devgn.

Those who know me and my family have often said that this intolerance runs in our blood…. There always has been intolerance in India. There is intolerance because the society is not perfect.  There are fault lines. We all need to work together to make a stronger and a richer India. An India where there is much less poverty and inequality. Only then will intolerance cease to exist.

 Anupam Kher


 Had any of you heard of the word ‘intolerance’ till seven or eight  months ago? You hadn’t, because this is a term that’s been  marketed. It’s a result of the drubbing that the Opposition got at the  hands of the ruling party. The Prime Minister hasn’t taken a single    day of leave in the last two years… let him work for five years and    then decide… I am not advocating him, I am just speaking as a  citizen of this country.

 Many people say I speak for the BJP because of my wife. I have  been married to Kirron for the last 30 years… I don’t have to prove  my loyalty to her by speaking on behalf of the BJP.  You can’t  tolerate the fact that our Prime Minister goes on foreign tours and speaks about the idea of India… for 10 years, you have tolerated a Prime Minister who didn’t say a word.

There has been no talk of corruption over the last two years, but for 10 years before that, there was only talk about corruption… 2G, 3G, e ji, o ji…. People in India, in general, are tolerant. The only ones who talk about intolerance are the intellectuals… the rich and famous who travel with 20 bodyguards, sip on champagne and talk about intolerance. The man on the street doesn’t even know the word ‘intolerance’. The American Presidential candidate (Donald Trump) says that Muslims should be thrown out of the country… that’s intolerance.

The most tolerant people in the country are the Congress. They are tolerating a person who they want to project as a Prime Minister of this country and they can’t even say to each other, ‘We are wrong!’ If you can tolerate that person, then you can tolerate anything in the world.



Asok Ganguly

Retired judge of Supreme Court

In a school in Kerala the national anthem was sung and three schoolchildren respectfully stood up for the anthem but they did not sing. Initially the school authorities overlooked it, till it caught the notice of a patriotic gentleman who happened to be a member of the Assembly. He raised it and ultimately the students were expelled. They challenged it before the courts and the Supreme Court… in upholding the rights of the children made a very prophetic statement in its concluding part of the judgment. The Supreme Court said: “Our tradition teaches tolerance, our philosophy preaches tolerance, our Constitution practises tolerance. Let us not dilute it”. In the wake of aggressive nationalism of the present scenario this may sound a little strange to many ears but this is the crux of tolerance in our Constitution.

In the Preamble the greatest emphasis has been given on individual dignity and individual dignity has been equated with the unity and integrity of the nation. You cannot allow the citizens to maintain their dignity if you rob them of their basic freedom. If today I become answerable for eating a particular food, or if my house is raided for storing beef… where is my dignity, where is my moral autonomy, where is my freedom? This is what is happening today and we condemn this as acts of intolerance.

I condemn intolerance in any form and I think without tolerance you cannot have cultural pluralism nor can we have multi-cultural existence in India. India is not meant for these intolerant people.

 Randeep Surjewala

Congress MLA

 Shall we forget compassion because another one is cruel? Shall we  give up love and affection because another one spurns us? Shall  we forget humility because another one is arrogant? Shall we give  up tolerance because another one is intolerant? The answer is  plain and simple. No.

 And while I say this, I know that in today’s times if you are inclusive,  if you are tolerant, if you are passionate you will be hounded, you  will be persecuted and you’ll be trolled, by those who stridently  oppose compassion and tolerance. But does it mean that the fringe  has become the mainstream? Does it mean that if you disagree with  the ruling establishment, then I am the enemy? Does it mean dissent is anti-national? Does it mean I need to carry a certificate of patriotism everywhere I go? The answer is again plain and simple. No.

While I say this I am painfully aware that the fault lines of identity, of religion, of caste, of region have become very, very sharp. The last 22 months of this government… it often appears that this is the mainstream discourse. But is it? Because its intensity and its noise is so strong and so loud that all sanity appears to have been lost in the din, so naturally it looks as if intolerance is the new tolerance….

India’s DNA is about compassion, it is about cohabitation and it is about coexistence. We are a nation that enabled the birth of different religions and adopted many religions and still thrived. I am confident that no government or organisation can take away our DNA of compassion, coexistence and cohabitation.

Barkha Dutt


I am going to ask all of you to step back from the politics, the theatrics, the histrionics and… let’s talk instead of the environment that we operate in today, and who has created that environment. Is it politicians, or is it all of us? Have we as Indians forgotten the art of conversation?

As a television host… I worry most of all for the intolerance of my own fraternity, the media. I worry at how we somehow have converted news into theatre and our narratives have become reductionist and I am afraid in this city, which prides itself on its intelligence, I know that all of you will agree with me that certain narratives are dumbing us down. We are more intelligent than this nationalism versus anti-nationalism narrative. We are proud Indians and we do not need anybody to certify that for us.

The young man I met last night…. I asked him, ‘There’s a word these days that has become very controversial, that word is called ‘azadi’. I said ‘can you define azadi in one sentence?’ And he said: ‘Azadi for me is the freedom to implement the Indian Constitution’. Who said this? A boy charged with sedition called Kanhaiya Kumar. This was his definition of azadi. Not azadi from India but azadi in India.

We the people who are tolerant, who want to live and let live, who want to let people wear what they want and yes, eat beef if they want…. Secularism was dear to me, my politicians took it away from me, so today I say pluralism. Nationalism was dear to me… but today they have taken away that word from me and I have to look for another word.

Mukul Kesavan


If I was arguing this for the proposition I would argue that in the last few months within the political context of India, a bunch of isolated and abhorrent incidents have been stitched into a sinister pattern and this, in a sense, is used to exclude legitimate political voices that arguably won the last general election.

If I was arguing this against the proposition, I would argue that the call for intolerance is never merely rhetorical. Reason why so many people have made a case against the present political climate is because they believe an attempt is being made to rig the political discourse of the republic in a majoritarian way… that there is, in a sense, a state that acts as a patron for civil society movements to try and shut down what the nation has always been known for, which is almost a form of anarchic pluralism




From this platform on behalf of all of you, as JUNUSU president I take this opportunity of the media’s presence to thank and salute the people of this country. I want to thank all the people across the world, academicians and students, who have stood with JNU. I salute them (lal salaam).

I also wish to acknowledge and thank all the people standing firm with the struggle, who are demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, be they from the media or civil society, political or non-political. I salute them. (lal salaam).

I especially wish to thank the worthies of this country sitting in parliament who claim it is they who decide what is right and what is wrong. Thank you to them, their police and also to the media channels… [resounding cheers] In our parts they say, so what if one’s name was vilified, it got one some publicity! At least they gave space to JNU on primetime even if it was to vilify it.

I have no rancour against anyone – none whatsoever against the ABVP [Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, student wing of the BJP]. You know why? (crowd roars – why?) Because the ABVP on our campus is actually more rational than the ABVP outside the campus. I have one suggestion for all those people who consider themselves political pundits – kindly watch the recording of the last presidential debate to see the state the ABVP candidate was reduced to. When we decimated the sharpest ABVP intellect there is in the country, which happens to be in the ABVP of JNU, you can draw your own conclusions about what awaits you in the rest of the country. There is no ill-will against ABVP because we are truly  democratic; we truly believe in the constitution, and that is why we look at the ABVP not as enemies but as the opposition. Rest assured, my friend, I will not indulge in any witch-hunt against you for the simple reason that one has to be worthy enough to be hunted….

JNU has shown the way. JNU stands unshakeable today to state what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. The best thing about this protest is that it is spontaneous. I am stressing this aspect because everything on their part was planned.

We have unstinting faith in the constitution of this country, the laws of this country and the judicial process of this country. We also believe that the only truth is change, and we are standing here rooting for change. This change will come about, make no mistake

We have unstinting faith in the constitution. With all our alertness we stand fully behind the articles of faith declared in the preamble – socialism, secularism, equality.

I don’t want to give a speech here; I want to tell you about my experience. Earlier I studied more, endured the system less. This time I studied less and endured the system more. Since JNU has a tradition of research I can say I have primary data, first hand information! First things first – I don’t want to say anything about the judicial process. I have said just one thing – and all the people of this country who truly believe in the constitution and want to bring Babasaheb’s dreams to fruition would have taken the hint. I don’t want to say anything about the matter that is sub judice.

So the honourable prime minister has tweeted. He says, Satyamev Jayate [truth will prevail] (laughter). My reply is as follows: honourable prime minister, I have serious ideological differences with you but Satyamev Jayate is not your slogan; it is the motto of the country and the constitution, so I too will happily say  Satyamev Jayate.

Truth will emerge victorious….In my village – you have become acquainted with my family these past days – we have confidence men at our railway stations trying to trick people into buying a ‘lucky’ ring that will give them anything they desire.

We have some policy makers in our country who are cast in the same mould. They say many things – black money will return, har har modi, this killing inflation will come down, sab ka saath sab ka vikas.  Although Indians easily forget such things, the spectacle this time was so huge that we are unable to forget the slogans.

Nevertheless, attempts are on to make sure that these slogans are forgotten. How? Stop the [money] of research fellows so that they have to beseech you to restore their fellowship. Then you agree but on the condition that the remuneration will stay at the same level of Rs 5000 or Rs 8000. Who speaks out against this? JNU, who else?….

If you speak out against this undemocratic regime, what will its cyber cell do? It will send a doctored video and insults, and the condoms in your dustbin will be counted too. But make no mistake, this is a critical  moment and we need to understand that the attack on JNU is a planned attack because they want to delegitimise the Occupy UGC movement. It is a planned attack because they want to discredit and destroy the struggle to get justice for Rohith Vemula. You are running this JNU issue on prime time, ex-RSS worthy [Subramanian Swamy], because you want the people of this country to forget the prime minister’s assurance that he would put 15 lakh rupees in their individual bank accounts. A word of friendly caution – it is not easy to get admission in JNU and it certainly is not easy to make JNU students forget. We will remind you repeatedly that every time a government has turned oppressor, JNU has raised the voice of protest…

Don’t play soldiers against students

You cannot simply dilute our struggle by saying that on the other side of the picture are the country’s youths who are dying on the border. I salute these heroic figures. I have a question for a BJP leader who made a statement in Parliament. (I will not name him for I learnt one thing in prison, where the fight is ideological, one should  not give individuals needless publicity).  On the floor of the Lok Sabha this BJP leader thundered that the country’s youth are dying at the border.

I want to ask that leader – is that youth a brother to you? The thousands of farmers who are committing suicide, who grow grain for us and our youth on the border; farmers who are fathers to these youths –  do you have anything at all to say about that, about them? I want to tell that leader the farmer who works in the field is my father, and it is my brother who joins the army. By erecting this binary don’t you go creating a false debate in the country – because those who die for the country die within the country and also on the borders of this country.

My question [to the BJP leader] is this: by standing up in parliament who exactly are targeting with your politics? Who will take responsibility for those who are dying? Those who fight are not responsible; the ones who make them fight are the ones who are accountable.… Who takes responsibility for this war, who makes people fight? See how my father is dying, how my brother is dying. I put this question to the two-bit primetime anchors who create this binary all the time.

Is it wrong to seek freedom (azaadi) from the ills that plague our country today? They ask belligerently – who do you want freedom from? Has India enslaved somebody?

My answer to them is NO. So isn’t it obvious we are not seeking freedom from India? We are not seeking freedom FROM India but IN India. There is a difference. We are certainly not issuing a call for freedom from the British; that freedom has already been wrested by the people of our country.

What prison was like

Now I come to my experience in prison. Some of the policemen asked me why we keep saying lal salam, lal salam. I should perhaps make it clear this was not part of the investigation! The policemen would come to give me my meals and to take me for my medical check-up. I being a JNU student, more so from Brahmaputra [hostel], how could I stay without talking? So I struck a conversation with a policemen and discovered he was just like me. Think – who takes up a police job inside a jail –  someone whose father is either a farmer or a  labourer, someone whose father is from a  disadvantaged section. I too come from one of India’s backward states, Bihar. I too come from a poor family, a farmer’s family. By and large it is only those from poor families who join the police. Here I am talking about policemen of constable, head constable and inspector rank. I have not had much interaction with the IPS.

So the policeman asked: what is this lal salaam.

I replied: Lal means revolution (kranti).

He: And salaam?

I: It means ‘hail revolution’.

The policeman did not get it. I asked him about the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’. He said he knew of it. I told him ‘Inquilab’ means revolution (kranti) in Urdu. He said ABVP members also use this slogan (Inquilab Zindabad). I said, do you understand now – they are false revolutionaries, we are the real revolutionaries!

Then the policeman asked me another question: Everything is very cheap for the people of JNU, right? I asked if the same was not true for him? I asked him if he was paid overtime (he works 18 hours a day) and he replied in the negative. When asked how he manages he replied, that same thing which you call corruption?

He gets a uniform allowance of Rs 110. You can’t buy even an undergarment with that amount. All this the policemen volunteered on his own. I explained to him that it is precisely from this – hunger, corruption – that we seek freedom.

By then the agitation in Haryana had started and as you know a large part of the Delhi Police force comes from Haryana. I salute them for they are very hard working. Anyway I asked the policeman what he thought about reservation. ‘Casteism is not a good thing at all,’ he replied. It is precisely from this casteism that we seek freedom, I told him. The policemen exclaimed: ‘But there’s nothing wrong with what you just said, there is nothing anti-national about it.’

Then I asked him one more question: ‘who wields the maximum power in the system?’

He looked at his lathi and said, ‘danda’ (the lathi).

Can you wield your lathi at will, I asked.

No, he admitted. On being asked who has the most power his answer was, ‘the ones issuing fake tweets’!

It is from the Sanghis who tweet false statements that we want freedom, I told him.

The policeman then said, ‘It seems to me that you and I are one the same side.’ Well, there’s a small problem, I replied.

Now I am not saying this about all journalists because all of them don’t get their remuneration from there. Of course some get their wages only from there, and some after long years of reporting parliament are making desperate efforts to enter it as well. And what an atmosphere they have created.

So I told the policeman, Here you and I are having a one-to-one chat and there they screech ‘Dekhiye sansanikhez’ (Watch this sensational news.)

‘Shall I tell you something in confidence,’ asked the policeman. ‘I had decided I would beat you up when you arrived – your name was there on the FIR*…. But after talking to you I now feel like beating them up.”

Democracy matters, as does social justice

He said something very important. And through the media here I want to draw the attention of the entire country to it. This policeman, like me, comes from an ordinary family; like me, wanted to pursue studies; like me, wanted to understand the systemic ills of the country and fight against them, wanted to understand the difference between being literate and educated, yet is working as a policeman. This is where JNU comes in and that is why you want to suppress JNU’s voice – to ensure that a poor marginalised individual is not able to do a PhD because it is clear as day that the poor simply can’t afford the lakhs of rupees needed to pursue a PhD in a private institution.

They want to stifle all the voices that can come together, whether they are standing on the border, dying on the field or standing tall in struggle in JNU.

You who don’t want these voices to come together, I want to remind you of what Babasaheb said – political democracy is not enough. Well, we will establish social democracy. That is why we speak of the constitution repeatedly. Lenin said, ‘Democracy is indispensable to socialism’. We speak of democracy, freedom of expression, equality and socialism so that a time may come when the son of a peon and the son of a president can study together.

This voice of struggle they want to choke. Science says the more you press down, the more pressure builds up. But then these people have nothing to do with science for studying science is not the same as being scientific. But if a dialogue could be established with people who are engaged in the quest to build a climate of scientific temper then we  will surely wrest the freedoms that we are fighting for in this very country: freedom from hunger and poverty, exploitation and injustice, and securing the rights of Dalits, adivasis, women and minorities. That we will secure this freedom in this country through this very constitution, this very parliament and this very judicial process, is our dream. This was the dream of Babasaheb. And this was the dream that our comrade Rohith dreamed.

Do you see now? You killed one Rohith and tried to crush the movement that emerged in its wake. See how massive that movement has become.

One more thing I want to say from my prison experience. This is my self-criticism and if you think it applies to you too then take it in that spirit. We from JNU are refined and civilised in our speech, but  we speak in heavy jargon which the common people of this country are unable to understand. It’s not their fault. They are honest, straightforward and perfectly capable of understanding. It is we who are unable to explain things to them at their level. In the end what reaches them? ‘No more prevarication, just sell on OLX’ (Ab no more dekhte hai OLX mein bechate hain.) It is critical that we establish a conversation and debate on this ‘for sale’ mentality that has been created in this country.

Now let me talk about my prison experience. I got two bowls there – one was blue the other red.  I kept looking at the colours and thought to myself that although I am not a believer in destiny, nor do I know god, but surely something good is about to happen in this country now that these two colours are here together, side by side. The plate looked like our India, the blue was the blue of the Ambedkarite movement and the red bowl like [the red of socialism] . I thought if this unity were to be created in this country, then no more prevarication, we will send those who put everything on sale packing. Those who auction off everything we don’t want. We will put in power those who can ensure the protection of the law for everybody. We will make the slogan of sabka saath, sabka vikas a living reality….

Modi’s and RSS’s agenda

Today, when our honourable  PM (I have to be respectful, no, or they will doctor this too!) spoke about Stalin and Khrushchev, I had an irresistible urge to enter the television, tug at his suit and say, Modi ji, why not talk a little about Hitler too? If not Hitler, then Mussolini at least – whose black cap was worn by your Guruji? Golwalkar ji had gone to meet him and had been advised to fashion the definition of Indianness on the German  model….

Now I come to something very personal. I spoke to my mother after three months. When I was in JNU I never kept in regular touch.  After going to prison I felt one should keep in regular touch; I advise you to do the same. When I spoke to my mother I asked her: So you took a dig at Modiji? She replied that it was not a ‘dig’ at him. ‘To make fun of people is their prerogative. We just express our pain – those who understand, cry, and those who don’t, laugh.’ My mother said, ‘It was my pain which made me say Modiji is also a son to a mother, my son has been falsely accused in a sedition case. So when he talks about ‘mann ki baat’, why not also talk about ‘maa ki baat’ (mother’s plight)?

What words of comfort could I offer her? Whatever is happening in this country shows a dangerous pathology. Here I am not talking  about  one party or one media channel, or only about soldiers – I am visualising the entire country. What will be the face of this country when it is emptied of its people? That is why it is important to salute all those people who have stood up in support of JNU. They understand the importance of JNU – 60% of its students are women. Moreover, despite any shortcomings it may have, JNU is one of the few institutions which implements the reservation policy; where it doesn’t we fight to ensure it does so.

Also the people who come here – I have not told you until now, my family lives on 3000 rupees. Would I be able to pursue a PhD in any big university? So when a serious offensive is mounted against JNU, the people who are standing up for it are also being tarred with the same brush (in saying this I am not expressing sympathies for any particular political party, for I have my own ideological path). Sitaram Yechury has been charged with sedition, Rahul Gandhi, D. Raja and Kejriwal too. Even those from the media who are speaking up for JNU – actually they are not speaking up for JNU, they are stating the truth as truth and falsehood as falsehood – are being hounded and threatened.

Where is this self-proclaimed nationalism coming from? I was asked by some in prison whether I really shouted those slogans. I said, yes, and I will do so again.

My question is, Are you [those in power] able to see the difference or has your rationality been destroyed…. Is it a good thing to lose one’s rationality so soon because 69% of the people of this country voted against this kind of mindset? Only 31% voted for you and among them were some who were taken in by your slogans. Some of the people you lured with yourhar har slogan can only think of the price of arhar [dal] these days.

So don’t delude yourself that your victory is forever…. If you repeat a hundred times that the sun is the moon, will the sun become the moon? Certainly not. It will remain what is – the sun – even if you repeat your lie a 1000 times.

The beauty of it is that in parliament they table a ‘call attention motion’, but outside the Lok Sabha across the country they revert to the ‘distract attention motion’ – draw people away from their genuine problems and entrap them in ever new agendas. Here the Occupy UGC movement was going apace and comrade Rohith was killed. As soon as we raised our voice for him came the new salvo – ‘witness the biggest betrayal of the nation, look carefully at the epicentre of sedition’. This agenda too will lose steam.

So they are planning their next move – Ram mandir, what else. Let me tell you about a conversation I had with a policeman just before stepping out of prison.

He: do you believe in religion?

I: I need to know about religion to be a believer.

He: You must have been born in some family?

I: Coincidentally, I was born in a Hindu family

He: So do you know something about your religion?

I: From the little I know I can say that God created this earth and is present in every little speck. What do you say?

He: Absolutely right

I: Some people want to create something for God. What do you have to say about it?!

He: Height of madness.

You cannot dupe the people endlessly with an agenda that has run its course. Your duplicitous game helped you gain from 80 to 180 seats once, but not anymore, for the axis has shifted. But still they will not give up their efforts to distract people’s attention. They don’t want the people to raise genuine issues.

All of you sitting here – you feel as if you have been assaulted. True, but this is not the first time. I want to draw your attention to a cover story on JNU by (Subramaniam) Swamyji in the RSS mouthpiece Organiser. Now I have full faith in democracy. If my friends in the ABVP are listening, I request them to bring Swamyji here so that we can debate the issue. If through logic he can prove that JNU should be shut down for four months, I will agree with him wholeheartedly. If not, I would request him to leave the country and live outside as he has done on earlier occasions.

There is just so much of planning behind these attacks. Maybe you being inside the campus could not see. There was a plan from day one. They don’t even think to change their posters. The same posters with the same content used by the Hindu Kranti Sena are used by ABVP and ex-armymen. What it means is that all these things are being planned in Nagpur. This is no spontaneous surge, my friends. There is but one overarching aim: wherever the voice of protest emerges in this country, choke it; whenever it seems people might start thinking about their fundamental problems, distract them; wherever the voice of protest emerges in this JNU campus, be it of Anirban [Bhattacharya] or Umar [Khalid], be it …Ashutosh…. or anyone among you, to brand it anti-national and delegitimise JNU.

But I say to them, you will not be able to suppress this struggle, this protest – for the more you try to repress us, the faster we will bounce back on our feet to stand our ground.

This is a long struggle and we have to carry it forward without stopping, without bending, without pausing for breath. WE will stand united against divisive forces like ABVP within the campus or the BJP and the RSS outside the campus who are trying to bring the country to the edge of destruction. JNU will stand united against them; as history shall bear witness. The struggle that was launched with the Occupy UGC movement, the struggle that Rohith Vemula waged, and the struggle that you and so many peace-loving and progressive people in the country have launched – that struggle we shall wage and win.

Thanking everybody who has been part of this struggle and appealing to them to walk by our side, I will end here…

Thank you

Inquilab Zindabad!

Rashtra ekta zindabad! (long live national unity)

Samajik nyay zindabad! (long live social justice)

[*After the policeman mentioned seeing Kanhaiya’s name on the FIR, Kanhaiya interjected: Before the FIR our names had come on the ABVP complaint, they were noted in the FIR]