Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi has termed as "crime" the February 9 event held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University against the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and claimed the issue was blown out of proportion because it was "politicised".
"If you ask me on the JNU incident, it is nothing but a breach of law. JNU incident was a crime. That's it. The whole issue became overblown because it was politicised and then police was expected to go easy," Bedi said.
The former policewoman was speaking at an event organised by CII Young India here which was attended by Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen and transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.
Referring to both the JNU issue as well as the recent Jat agitation in Haryana, the 66-year-old BJP member said the Indian law had "weakened" over time and had become flexible and that it was imperative to "reverse the trend."
"There has been weakening of the rule of law over a period. We have brought it to a very 'lachkila' flexible level where it should not be. So we are to reverse the trend. As a nation, India must start respecting rule of law and accept no compromises, whoever it may be - high or low," she said.
She went on to say that while Article 19 of the Constitution details freedom of expression, one must not overlook the clause that free speech comes with responsibility.
"If you read Article 19 of Freedom of Speech, the media must also talk about the clause of responsible speech. But, it forgets about the the clause. I think if that is there, India will become even a better country to live in," Bedi said.
Transgender activist Tripathi said it was "wrong" to call students "anti-nationals" but said universities must be treated in a "dignified fashion."
Tripathi, who is the first transgender person to represent Asia Pacific in the UN, pointed out how research scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide faded out amidst the JNU controversy and asserted that universities must not be treated like "playgrounds for politicians."
"I believe the JNU incident would have been different had it not been politicised. It should have been handled in a way typical of a university. We are only shouting about JNU but the poor child who committed suicide has not been given justice yet."
"Today JNU has become a hot potato, tomorrow BHU and TISS will become one. Universities cannot be playground of politicians. A university has to be a university and it has to be treated and dignified in that fashion," she said.