Three years after an event organised by students at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) allegedly saw "anti-national" slogans being raised, the Delhi Police on Monday filed charges of sedition against 10 people, including student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. The Delhi Police has named them in a 1,200-page chargesheet, which the Patiala House Court in Delhi will take up on Tuesday.
The police registered cases against the 10 accused under section 124 A (sedition), 147 A (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused were named in the chargesheet for allegedly shouting slogans calling for the "fragmentation" of India.
This was after the Delhi Police, on Sunday, wound up its investigation into the JNU case. They had begun the inquiry in February 2016 and obtained the sanction of the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and the prosecution to file a chargesheet, The Times of India reported.
Responding to reports of the chargesheet, Kanhaiya said: "All of this, starting from the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to the 10 percent quota Act, to this charge, is coming up at the time of the elections. Why did the police take so much time to file a chargesheet for sedition? I can see a complete lack of seriousness on the part of the Narendra Modi government regarding everything."
Kanhaiya was the president of the JNU Students' Union president when the controversial event was organised at the university in February 2016.
Other than Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, all the others named in the chargesheet are Kashmiri students. They include Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayees Rasool, Basharat Ali and Khalid Bashir Bhat.
The Delhi Police investigated as many as 36 people in the case, including several JNU students and security personnel. Among the 36 are JNU student leader Shehla Rashid and CPI leader D Raja's daughter Aprajita, News18 reported.
According to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, investigators decided to register a case of sedition after hearing witness statements and examining CCTV footage handed over by the university. Of all the videos sent for forensic examination, only four were found to be authentic, News18 reported. The Delhi Police commissioner was quoted as saying by India Today that the investigation was "complex" as the team "had to visit other states to take statements".
In 2016, Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid and Anirban had been arrested for organising an event at JNU allegedly in protest against the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru. The police had alleged that they had not completed the formalities to obtain permission to hold the event, that protesters had retaliated with violence when they were informed that they did not have permission to go ahead with the meeting, and that Kanhaiya, who has since shot to national fame, had led a violent mob with his slogans.
Kanhaiya, Umar and Anirban had all served jail sentences based on an FIR accusing them of sedition in 2016. Violent lawyers at the Patiala House Court had launched an attack on Kanhaiya on 17 February at his bail hearing. The Opposition had then criticised the police for "working at the behest of the ruling BJP".
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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2019 18:44:21 IST