An open letter to Zee News on #JNUCrackdown


February 19, 2016
Maitreyee Shukla

Dear Zee News,
Maybe you are aware that a new video has emerged. A video which proves that the clipping shown by Sudhir Chaudhary in his segment is not the entire truth. And as always, half truth turned out to be dangerous. Your channel has manipulated the video and made it appear as if Kanhaiya and Umar were raising slogans for the secession of Kashmir by asking for ‘Azaadi’ from India. Although, even then, these slogans were nowhere close to being seditious, however, some might have considered them objectionable or offensive. Now, after seeing what the complete slogans were, its plain as the nose on your face that the slogans raised by Kanhaiyya and Umar are not even remotely offensive. In other news, the government has denied any intelligence report on Umar being a JeM sympathizer, whom you have declared to be a terrorist in your recent segments.

By twisting their words, you have made two innocent students into ‘traitors’ in the eyes of the nation. This is not just an injustice to these two, but a grave injustice to the prestigious institution of JNU, the entire student and teachers community of JNU, and also the ‘nation’ whose integrity you claimed to be your supreme concern. The way you drove the entire nation into a frenzy of hatred towards the entire JNU community is condemnable. Your media trial of Kanhaiyya and Umar has fairly reduced their chances of getting a fair trial. This is not the “Hakeeqat jaisi, Khabar waisi” you claimed once. (Is this why you changed your punchline?) Frankly, it’s shitty journalism on your part.

You guys are an expert on whataboutery, so let me ask a few ‘what abouts’ to you. What about the time when JNU students were taking water cannons and lathis after long hunger strikes in freezing cold weather? Where were you? What about when JNU stood in solidarity with students of HCU in demand of justice for Rohith Vemula? Where were you?

In your attempt to malign my university, you used the death of the brave Lance Naik Hanuman Thappa. Now, know that JNU has since long supported the demand raised by Pakistan to declare Siachin as a ‘No War Zone’. It was your beloved government who did not listen and caused the death of these soldiers. Secondly, you raised the issue of the taxpayers’ money. Zee network, the taxpayers’ money is wasted when the government uses them to write off taxes of huge corporations, not when students organize themselves into political parties to discuss the issues of the country and attempt to solve them. In another segment you labelled us ‘anti-national’ because we celebrate Mahishasur Diwas instead of Durga pooja. Again, you gave half the truth. We celebrate Mahishasur Diwas ALONG with Durga Pooja. We do that because Mahishasur is a local deity for many tribes, just like Raavan, and we wish to give everyone equal space. And if as per you, Mahishasur is anti national, then your knowledge about the diversity of India is severely flawed.

After your false DNA test, here is an account of what we JNU students have faced, and you have been gracious enough to ignore.

1. Our beloved university defamed, to the extent that people demanded its shutdown.
2. Several innocent students targeted, including our leader, Kanhaiya Kumar.
3. Mob-o-cracy in world’s largest democracy. Several students and teachers manhandled.
4. Landlords in Munirka have asked us JNU students to vacate their premises.
5. Name calling and abuses on social media and as well as outside. (I have been called a ‘deshdrohi’ by my own brother.)
6. Problems in everyday tasks, such as transportation because no one is willing to help ‘anti-nationals’.
7. The threat of violence at every step. It is impossible to wear our JNU tee shirt in public without getting hateful looks.
8. Holdup of classes. And mind you, the taxpayer’s money is being wasted now, when we are not able to hold regular classes.
9. Our country is deriving worldwide criticism. Even Noam Chomsky has criticized the Indian government for its crackdown. By the way, now is the time when the nation is being defamed, not when scholars were protesting.
10. On a lighter note, we are wasting our time debating with cyber goondas and morons.

You have misused your extent of reach and have betrayed the trust of the entire nation, and for this you owe us an apology. Note that even now, I am not asking for #ShutDownZeeNews like you asked for #ShutDownJNU. I demand for a defamation case to be filed against you. But unlike you, Zee news, I want to give you the chance you never gave us, the chance to tell your side of the story. You are welcome to JNU’s beautiful campus and trust me, even though you have caused us immense pain and harassment, we will not mob you, or lynch you, we will hear you out and debate( A proper debate, not what your friend Arnab does).

If that sounds unbelievable to you, that is because you do not know JNU. JNU teaches us the value of free speech, the value of debate, dissent and fairness. JNU tells us to give a platform to everyone, even those who hate us. That is what we were doing on the evening of 9th when some fringe elements (who were probably not even from JNU) were provoked by the unconstitutional curbing of their free speech by the administration and some hooligans, and then, you, behaving even more immaturely than those idiots, went on a ‘destroy JNU’ rampage! Your coverage has been frenzied, biased and unethical by all standards of journalism.

In the end, I just have one message for you. Please consider when you have time to think between your extortion and biased journalism. Calm. The. Hell. Down.

A disappointed JNU student.



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