Assault allegations untrue, it was a 'cheap publicity stunt': Kanhaiya Kumar's 'assailant'

The passenger, who allegedly strangulated Kanhaiya, denies all claims of any attack and said it was a 'cheap publicity' stunt by the JUNSU president

FP Staff April 25, 2016 11:57:49 IST
Assault allegations untrue, it was a 'cheap publicity stunt': Kanhaiya Kumar's 'assailant'

Kanhaiya Kumar,  JNU Student Union's President, alleged that on his way to Pune from Mumbai, a man tried to "strangulate" him on board a Jet Airways flight on Sunday.

The passenger, who allegedly strangled Kanhaiya, denies all claims of any attack and said it was a 'cheap publicity' stunt by the JUNSU president, adding "My hand just happened to brush his neck as I was trying to balance myself on an aching leg. I do not know him personally though I have seen his pictures," reported Hindustan Times. 

The Mumbai Police said that the student leader was involved in a tussle with a fellow passenger when the aircraft was on the tarmac at the Mumbai airport.

After Kanhaiya brought the issue up with Jet Airways officials, they off-loaded Kanhaiya and the assailant, identified as Manas Deka from the aircraft. Kanhaiya's companions were also asked to get off the flight, reported the Hindustan Times.

Kanhaiya, agitated with Jet Airways deplaning him, tweeted the following:

Manas Deka, a TSC employee, was returning to Pune from Kolkata. The Kolkata-Mumbai-Pune flight halted at Mumbai for half an hour, according to a report in The Indian Express.  Described as a 'strong BJP supporter' in Kanhaiya's tweet, Deka denied being a BJP supporter and even said that he has never voted in his entire life, added The Indian Express report.

According to Deka's statement, he "accidentally tripped" on Kanhaiya as there was little space to walk and that he "immediately apologised," said The Indian Express report. Deka further added that three or four more passengers, who he believes were Kanhaiya's companions, started to accuse him of trying to strangle Kanhaiya and this prompted the student leader to join in the outcry.

The Hindustan Times report said that the Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into the matter. The report added that a non-cognisable complaint was registered against Deka first and then by Sunday afternoon, a complaint against Kanhaiya was also registered. A senior police official, speaking to Hindustan Times said that it was one of Kanhaiya's associates that filed the complaint against Deka and further added that Kanhaiya also refused to undergo a medical examination to assert the strangulation.

Maharashtra's minister of state (home) Ram Shinde, said that Kanhaiya was trying to malign BJP's image and added that he had been provided full security on the aircraft, reported Hindustan Times. The report added "Kanhaiya Kumar was travelling with three other persons. He had been allotted a window seat and thus, while crossing over apassenger who was seated in the middle, he got into a fight with him. The other passenger did not even know this man was Kanhaiya Kumar and he, too, is alleging he was beaten up by the student leader," Shinde said.

Jet Airways issued an official statement which said that some guests "have been off-loaded at Mumbai airport in the interest of operational safety."

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