One more Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, who has been accused of sedition is under probe over the controversial event of 9 February where anti-India slogans were raised, said a NDTV report. The student, Ashutosh, is among the six students who were wanted by the police in relation to the the events that unfolded on JNU campus earlier this month. After being missing since February 12, five of them surfaced on campus on February 21.
The Delhi Police had accused 19 JNU students of displaying anti-national slogans, out of which 16 are alumni of the university, some of which are pursuing higher education in institutions abroad, according to a DNA report. The list also includes names of students who now teach in several universities across India.
The reports adds that the Delhi Police’s intelligence unit prepared the list a week after the protests erupted, but after it was revealed last week that the video showing students shouting anti-national slogans was doctored, they found themselves in an embarrassing situation.
Accused, arrested and anticipating: JNU's 'seditious six'
After Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on 12 February, five students on the Delhi Police’s radar went missing. These were students accused of sedition – Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ananth Prakash Narayan and Ashutosh Kumar – who returned to the JNU campus on 21 February.
While the five have been debarred from the university they were allowed to use the hostels. After their return, they were quoted saying that they left because of the hostile environment that had been created, branding them as terrorists and anti-nationals. However, they returned when they found that the video was doctored and realised the strength of the students protesting in their favour, said a Times of India report.
On 24 February, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested on charges of sedition and were sent to police custody for three days. They were sent to custody after a court hearing on 24 February evening, a courtroom that was essentially a make-shift one at the assistant commissioner of police’s office, said an NDTV report.
The two were questioned in the courtroom about the ‘outsiders’ that were involved in slogan shouting on 9 February.
Khalid and Bhattacharya surrendered to the police and with their three-day police custody ending on Saturday, the Delhi police will produce both of them in a makeshift court room following an order by the Delhi High Court to “maintain confidentiality” during their remand proceedings.
Interestingly, the DNA report notes that the original ‘list’ of students accused of shouting anti-national slogans did not include Umar Khalid as ‘volatile and reactive’ but an interview with the students of JNU later revealed that the police only went after Khalid once substantial evidence failed to surface against Kanhaiya. The police have Kanhaiya in custody, whose bail plea is slated to be heard by the Supreme Court on 29 February, as well of Khalid and Bhattacharya even though the original FIR was filed on the basis of the video that surfaced.
Hindustan Times reported that the other three accused of sedition – Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakash – are questioning why they should surrender. They have said that they have given the police all the information they need – their hostel numbers, room numbers and contact details – it is now up to the Delhi Police to take necessary action if they please; they’re in the campus, ready for anything. These three are members of the All India Students' Association and their names were mentioned in the letter the police wrote to the JNU VC on 12 February.
There were two other names on the list — Aishwarya Adhikari and Shweta Raj — information on whom is unavailable, according to India Today
Meanwhile, the Congress demanded that the case of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who is booked on charges of sedition, should be transferred to a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state of either Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, so that the truth in the case is revealed.