New Delhi: Delhi High Court will hear the plea of two JNU students Omar Khalid and Airban Bhattacharya on Wednesday even as Delhi Police issued a veiled threat of using “other options” if the students facing sedition charges evaded surrender. The two students dramatically showed up in JNU campus on Sunday evening after going into hiding for several days.
The High Court will hear the plea of the two students along with Kanhaiya Kumar, seeking protection during their surrender to the police.
However, the high court refrained from giving any specific direction on granting any interim protection from their arrest, with Justice Pratibha Rani saying “let the matter be heard tomorrow.”
Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the two students had sought protection from their arrest till Wednesday but the judge said, “I am simply re-notifying the matter for tomorrow. We are not disposing of the petition. Let it be heard tomorrow.”
While refusing to grant protection from arrest, the court asked both petitioners to secretly give details of the date, place and time where they will surrender, to the court and senior police officials will ensure their safety.
DCP (South) Prem Nath, however, did not agree to the place the petitioners wished to surrender, saying he has some inputs due to which the place mentioned by the accused was not accessible to police.
When the accused’s counsel was arguing for police protection for their surrender and subsequent remand, the high court said “remand proceedings have to be done by the trial court and it cannot go by anyone’s whims and fancies”.
The duo through their counsel said they feared for their lives as the advocates in a sting operation and through media had said they will kill the students involved in the case.
Five JNU students, Khalid, Bhattacharya, Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga and Anant Prakash Narayan had gone missing from the campus since February 12 after Kanhaiya was arrested in the sedition case for allegedly raising anti-India slogans in a controversial event at the campus.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said that the police will not “shy away” in using its options if the five JNU students fail to cooperate with the investigators.
“There is no doubt that seditious speeches and slogans were raised in the event concerned. We also know that some involved in it, who went absconding soon after, have now returned.
“At this point, there is no imminent threat to life and property, for which we are working with patience. For every job we do, our tactics are dynamic,” Bassi said.
He further said, “Today, we can afford to wait for them (the five students) to regain some ‘sadbuddhi’ (better sense) and cooperate with the police.”
“If we feel that they are unlikely to abide by the law, we have options available and we will not shy away from using them,” the police chief added.