‘Let’s wait for court judgement before commenting on JNU row’

By bappaditya paul

NOTWITHSTANDING the debate over police crackdown at JNU raging through the country, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has said that he would rather wait for the court judgment on the issue before giving his opinion.

“I am not an expert on this and am not aware of all the details. Many experts from both the political and apolitical spectrums are there to speak on the issue,” Satyarthi said when asked about his take on the nationalist versus anti-national debate that has cropped up centring the JNU episode. Satyarthi was interacting with media persons at Kolkata Press Club this afternoon.

Next, asked specifically about his views on the arrest of JNU Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the Nobel laureate steered away from taking a stand. “The matter is already in court. Let us wait for the court judgement,” he said.

Satyarthi later qualified the response saying that he had returned from Latin America only three days ago and could gather little insights to form an opinion on the JNU issue. “In fact, I spoke to a friend to learn the details.”  

The 62-year rights activist was conferred the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his near four decade fight against child labour and child slavery.

Interestingly, the very next of the JNUSU president’s arrest on 12 February over alleged “anti-national” slogans, another Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen, had remarked in Delhi that India as a nation had become too tolerant of intolerance. Sen made the comment while delivering a lecture about the right to dissent.

Satyarthi today said that according to him, there were three serious dangers to society and those were ~ apathy, fear, and intolerance. “But these are global phenomenon and not peculiar to India,” he said.

The foundation named after Satyarthi would launch a “100 million for 100 million campaign” later this year to ustilise youths across the globe to reach out to their deprived counter parts. “I see frustration, violence, and intolerance increasing among the young people. On the other hand, they are full of enthusiasm but their strengths are not being harnessed. To change this, I am planning the biggest campaign in human history wherein 100 million empowered youths would reach out to 100 million of their counterparts who are not empowered,” the Nobel laureate said.

The campaign would run both online and offline over the social and traditional media. Satyarthi has plans to rope in the universities in India to further the campaign.

Referring to the upcoming Union Budget, the Nobel laureate demanded an increase in allocation of funds for programmes related to children.

“In India, over 41 per cent of the population is below 18 years. But the budget spending on children education and healthcare combined is less than 4 per cent. If India wants to do justice to her children, the government must have to spend more on children,” Satyarthi said.

(Bappaditya Paul is editor NEWSMEN. This report first appeared in NEWSMEN on 20 February 2016.)

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