Kanhaiya Kumar dubs Delhi Police chargesheet in sedition case 'politically motivated', Shehla Rashid calls it 'manufactured controversy'

The Delhi Police charged former JNU students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during a campus event on 9 February, 2016, to commemorate the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru.

Press Trust of India January 15, 2019 07:51:36 IST
Kanhaiya Kumar dubs Delhi Police chargesheet in sedition case 'politically motivated', Shehla Rashid calls it 'manufactured controversy'
  • Kanhaiya Kumar said the Modi government, just as all its other promises, was "not serious" and using the JNU issue as a political tool.

  • The Delhi Police also charged former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during a campus event

  • CPI leader D Raja's daughter Aprajita and former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid are among the 36 others investigated in the case.

New Delhi: Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and others, named in a chargesheet filed by Delhi Police in a sedition case Monday, termed the move as "politically motivated" and questioned its timing, ahead of the parliamentary election.

"The chargesheet is politically motivated. However, we want the charges to be framed and a speedy trial in the case so that truth comes out. We also want to see the videos that have been placed on record as evidence by the police," Kanhaiya said, adding that it was a "diversionary ploy by the Modi government to hide its all-round failures".

"I have not received any summons or information from court. But if it is true, then we are thankful to police and (Prime Minister) Modi that finally after three years, when it is time for him and his government to go, the chargesheet has been filed.But what is pertinent is the timing of the charge sheet, just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

"It is evident that there is a political motive behind this. The motive is that the Modi government has been a failure in all aspects, it has not been able to fulfil even a single promise, so it is playing all its cards to divert the attention," he told reporters.

Kanhaiya Kumar dubs Delhi Police chargesheet in sedition case politically motivated Shehla Rashid calls it manufactured controversy

File photo of Kanhaiya Kumar. Reuters

Kanhaiya said the Modi government, just as all its other promises, was "not serious" and using the issue now as a political tool.

"If the government was really serious about the case and maintained that we did indulge in anti-national activities, then why did it take three years to file the chargesheet, that too just before the polls?," Kanhaiya asked.

The Delhi Police also charged former students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event organised on Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on 9 February, 2016, to commemorate the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.

In a statement, Delhi Police said,"The chargesheet has been filed. Names of 10 persons have been sent to court, requesting to initiate a trial. Names of 36 persons have been put in the list of persons against whom sufficient evidence has not come on file so far to launch trial."

Khalid, who addressed a student gathering at St Joseph's College in Bengaluru on the "role of youth in safeguarding the Constitution", said, "We reject the allegations. The move to file chargesheet three years after the alleged incident is an attempt to divert attention (of people) right before elections. We will fight it out in court."

"We congratulate Delhi Police, Home Ministry and the government for waking up from their deep slumber three years after 9 February, 2016, and barely three months before the general elections in 2019 and filing a chargesheet against us," Khalid and Bhattacharya said in a joint statement.

"Lying is an art. It's not enough to just lie. One also have to time it well. A sense of timing, of placement, is what makes one a master liar. And of course, one also needs to stage one's own cheerleaders who would celebrate each of one's lies. That is the role of most of the media today under this regime," they added.

Others charged in the case are Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat.

As many as 36 others, including Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja's daughter Aprajita, Shehla Rashid (then vice-president of the JNUSU), Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Banojyotsna Lahiri have been named in column 12 of the chargesheet due to insufficient evidence against them, police sources said.

Former JNUSU leader Shehla Rashid, who had led the campaign for Kanhaiya's release and other students, said, "This is a completely bogus case in which ultimately everyone will be acquitted. The timing of charge sheet right before the polls just reflects how BJP wants to reap electoral benefits out of this, especially after their defeat in the state polls recently. I was not even on campus on the day of the event."

"Modi government has used this manufactured controversy in installments. The next installment would be on the nomination day for 2019 elections," tweeted Rashid with"#JitteryModi".

CPI Leader D Raja said,"It is politically motivated. After 3 years Delhi Police is filing charge sheet in the case. We will fight it legally in court and politically outside court."

The current JNUSU expressed solidarity with those named in the charge sheet.

"This submission of the charge sheet after a hiatus of three years is a clear case of vendetta and well-planned instruction from the Prime Minister's Office to whip up a frenzy and browbeat those who have emerged as critical voices to prime minister," the JNUSU said in a statement.

A case was registered on February 11, 2016 under Sections of 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code against unknown persons at Vasant Kunj (North) police station following complaints by BJP MP Maheish Girri and the ABVP.

The 9 February event happened despite the varsity administration having cancelled the permission following a complaint by the ABVP, who had termed it as "anti-national".

ABVP leader Saurabh Sharma, who had opposed the event on campus in 2016, welcomed the charge sheet saying "this decision is the victory of ABVP, it is the victory of the facts which were put in front of everyone by ABVP at that time itself. Moreover, it is a tight slap to Congress and all other political people supporting them like Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal".

"We believe in judiciary and wish that it will act hard on those who attacked on pride and dignity of this nation by shouting 'Bharat tere tukde honge'," he said.

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