Kanhaiya Kumar is a former President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union. He is also a leader of the All India Students Federation (AISF), the student wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI).
In February 2016, he was arrested and charged with sedition by the Delhi police for allegedly raising anti-India slogans in a student rally. The rally was called to protest the 2013 hanging of Terrorist Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist convicted for the 2001 Indian Parliament attack. Kumar was released on interim bail on 2 March 2016 for lack of conclusive evidence. Kumar denied the charges, and upon his release, gave a speech in favour of freedom in India.