'The attack on Kanhaiya was an attempt to silence his voice and send a warning to all those who are supporting him.'
As Jawaharlal Nehru University students union president Kanhaiya Kumar stays in Tihar jail on charges of sedition, his parents can't help but feel proud of their son, a "real hero", who they believe has been wrongly arrested and branded as an anti-national.
Hailing from a village in Begusarai, Kanhaiya Kumar's parents Jaishankar Singh and Meena Devi, spoke to M I Khan in Patna.
Kanhaiya has become a household name today. Some people say he deserves punishment for his 'crime'.
Meena Devi: Mujhe garv hain ki woh mera beta hai aur main uski maa hoon (I am proud that Kanhaiya is my son and I am his mother).
Kanhaiya was targeted for his Communist ideology. He has been challenging and countering the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) in and outside the JNU campus.
My son has not committed any crime and he is not anti-national.
His only crime is that he is pro-poor, pro-marginalised, pro-people and has been speaking against those who represent the rich, the powerful in the country and society.
My son is a nationalist and not a supporter of Hinduvta politics. That is his only crime.
Main uski ma hoon, mujhe pata hain ki mera beta desh-virodhi ho hi nahin sakta, yeh baat aaj sabhi jaan gaye hain (I am his mother and know my son is not anti-national. Now, the whole world knows it).
Hum garib hain, ho sakte hain hamare pass dhan-daulat nahin hain, lekin hamein bhi haq hain desh ke khushali ke sapne dekhne ka. Mera beta usi sapne ko dekhta hain (We are poor, we don't have much money, but we do have the right to dream about the successful future of our country. My son was only trying to realise these dreams).
He was framed under a conspiracy.
What was the conspiracy?
Meena Devi: It is a clear conspiracy to destroy his educational career by declaring him anti-national for his Left wing ideology and his stand on various national and social issues to send a message to others. But that conspiracy has been exposed.
My son is a Left activist and the rivals of the ideology are playing dirty politics. He was arrested under a conspiracy by his political rivals. I am sure that my son will win the battle against Hinduvta politics.
The attack on your son at the Patiala House court complex scared many people.
Jaishankar Singh: It was an attempt to silence his voice and send a warning to all those who are supporting him.
Hindutva forces were behind the attack on Kanhaiya at the Patiala House court. The lawyers who attacked him are their supporters.
The police at the court did not take any action against them. It is sad to see how the police reacted in the situation.
What do you want Kanhaiya to do after his release from jail?
Jaishankar Singh: He is a student and a student leader. He needs to concentrate on both fronts. Kanhaiya will continue to fight against injustice and raise his voice for the poor, the marginalised and deprived people.
What about his career? Would you like to see him in politics?
Jaishankar Singh: My wife and I are both eager to see Kanhaiya as a lecturer and professor. But it is his choice that matters the most.
If he wishes to pursue a career in politics or to work with the people, he is free to do so.
Did you ever think your son would make national and international headlines?
Jaishankar Singh: Never. We never imagined that our son will become a real hero.