Barely two days after JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar was released on bail, posters were put up in central Delhi offering a bounty on him. Bearing the name of an organisation called the Purvanchal Sena, which claims to work for the welfare of people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and its president Adarsh Sharma with his mobile number, the posters in Hindi read, ‘Whoever shoots JNUSU president and traitor Kanhaiya Kumar will be rewarded Rs 11 lakh by the Purvanchal Sena.’
Sharma has since been arrested—on 7 March—by the Delhi Police. Political slugfests in India are understandable, but a gimmick like this goes into the realm of the criminal. What makes this both condemnable and amusing at the same time is that Sharma, a resident of Begusarai (like Kumar), had just Rs 150 in his bank account when he offered the Rs 11 lakh. He had not paid his rent either, presumably because he was broke. We are dealing here not with a potential murderer but a man who would do anything for some cheap publicity. And he got it, though jail might not have been in his scheme of things. Action against him is warranted because it will be a deterrent against aspiring politicians who have no idea of the limits of civility in a free country.