In a relief to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, a Delhi court has granted interim bail to them for six months, news reports said. The two, along with JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar, were at the centre of a raging controversy over alleged anti-national slogans at the JNU campus on 9 February. The duo is likely to walk out of jail on Saturday, CNN-IBN reported.
Khalid and Bhattacharya, who are lodged in jail since 23 February, sought bail on the ground of parity with JNU student's union President Kanhaiya Kumar, saying he has already been granted bail and the incident did not attract charges of sedition. The court accepted the argument on parity with Kanhaiya Kumar while granting them interim bail.
Soon after the news of the interim bail came out, celebrations broke out the JNU campus, with students shouting slogans in favour of the students who have been slapped with sedition charges.
"The order granting bail will embolden all of us to go forward in our movement," a JNU student was quoted as saying by India Today.
The bail plea of Umar and Anirban was opposed by the investigators who said the students' intention was to create hatred against the established government which attracts the sedition charge.
The police said the case against Kanhaiya "is very different" from that of Umar and Anirban as the JNUSU President was not the organiser of the event and there are 10 independent witnesses including security guards, JNU staff and the students who have confirmed that "anti-Indian slogans were raised" at the programme.
However, the counsel for both the accused said, in this case there was no violence prior or later to the incident.
Advocate Trideep Pais, who represented Anirban, said there are a number of reports and even the police is saying that several videos on the incident which are in public domain are doctored and "even the report of JNU on the incident says that the slogans were raised by outsiders".
Pais said that event organised by both the accused cannot be termed as unlawful assembly, even though the permission to hold that meeting was cancelled as no violence took place.
While seeking bail on the ground of parity, the counsel said, "Their co-accused Kanhaiya Kumar has already been granted bail and there were similar allegations against him as well. This case is not different from Kanhaiya's. Besides these three, seven persons were also named in the case but they are also free."
Advocate Yashpal, caught on camera attacking JNU students and media persons in the Patiala House Court Complex on 15 and 17 February, was also present in the proceedings on 16 March, which took place amid high security.
With inputs from PTI