The Telegraph
Saturday , February 13 , 2016

Anti-national? Not my son, says mother

Kanhaiya Singh. Picture by Prem Singh

Patna, Feb. 12: Meena Devi (55) is in a state of shock. The anganwadi worker earning around Rs 4,000 a month firmly believes her son cannot do anything against the nation's interests.

Her son, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Singh, was arrested in New Delhi today on charges of sedition. Kanhaiya is a resident of Bihat in Bihar's Begusarai district, around 120km east of Patna.

"Kanhaiya has been politically inclined from his school days, but he never says anything that goes against national interests," Meena Devi told The Telegraph by phone. "I am his mother and can vouch for it, irrespective of the charges levelled against my son."

The controversy surrounding Kanhaiya and some other JNU students erupted last week when he allegedly led a protest march on the university campus against the hanging of Afzal Guru (convicted in the December 2001 Parliament attack) and Maqbool Bhatt (JKLF founder who was hanged in 1984). Allegedly, the protesters also spoke in favour of the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people.

On Friday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh issued a statement for action against anti-national elements, following which Delhi police swung into action and arrested Kanhaiya.

The boy has a modest background. His father Jaishankar Singh (60) is a farmer but paralysed and bed-ridden for the past two years. His mother shoulders the family's responsibility. Kanhaiya has two brothers. His eldest brother, Manikant Singh, works for a private firm in Guwahati, Assam, where he lives with his family.

Kanhaiya is the second child. He has enrolled for a PhD course at JNU. His youngest brother, Prince Singh, is pursuing an MPhil course, also at JNU.

Meena Devi said she received the news of Kanhaiya's arrest from her youngest son, who told her the police first took him to the police station for interrogation and then arrested him.

Meena Devi shared the news with her husband, who expressed shock.

She is proud of her son's academic achievements, besides pointing out that he was the second boy from Bihar, after the late Chandrashekhar Prasad of Siwan, to have become JNUSU president. Chandrashekhar, who went to become a leader of the CPI-ML (Liberation), was shot dead on March 31, 1997 in Siwan.

Kanhaiya did his schooling from a government school in Bihat and his Class X and XII from a school in Barauni. "He was good in studies," Meena said before snapping the phone line saying she was getting calls from New Delhi and wanted to keep her phone free for any news of her son.

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