New Delhi: On a day when events in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) were discussed in the Indian Parliament, two student leaders facing sedition charges surrendered before Delhi Police on directions of the High Court.
The police also presented a 13-page status report on JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, accusing him of organising the protest in which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised. Kumar’s bail plea would be taken up on Thursday.
Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who are facing sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-India slogans, appeared outside the west gate of JNU and gave themselves up to police in the presence of fellow students, faculty members and their lawyers.
“Comrade Umar and Comrade Anirban have surrendered to the police. It’s a moment of sadness for the campus because we have seen these activists for years standing with the students,” Shehla Rashid, vice president of JNU Students Union (JNUSU) said in a statement. “They have placed their faith in the law and we hope that they will be released soon. We also hope that Comrade Kanhaiya gets bail tomorrow,” she said.
A case against Khalid and Bhattacharya was registered at Vasant Kunj police station. According to the police sources, both have been taken to an undisclosed location. Meanwhile, Delhi Police said that Kanhaiya Kumar had not only participated in the event where alleged anti-national slogans were raised in the JNU campus but had “actually organised” the programme.
In its 13-page status report filed before Justice Pratibha Rani, the police claimed that besides Kanhaiya and other accused persons, some “foreign elements” were also present during the event on February 9 in JNU and they had covered their faces to hide their identity.
“During the course of the investigation, statements of various eye-witnesses, who were found present on the spot, were recorded. It has come out during the course of investigations that the accused, Kanhaiya, the petitioner herein (for bail), not only participated in the said event but actually organised the same in connivance with other accused persons,” the police said in its status report.
It said, “It is pertinent to mention here that shockingly the incident dated February 9 records the presence of foreign (elements) with their mouths covered which sufficiently came during the course of investigation. “The investigation agency is looking for linkage between the petitioner (Kanhaiya), his co-accused and the said foreign elements who were hiding their identity by covering their faces,” it said.
While opposing Kanhaiya’s bail plea, the police said that it was “an open secret” that the event has ramifications not only within India but has “an international impact” as well. The investigation of the present case is at a certain stage, and in case the liberty of bail is granted to the petitioner, the ‘very line of investigation will be adversely affected’, it said.
The status report, which was filed in pursuance to the court’s direction, said the unedited video footage of the incident, which was procured from a private news channel, was “not the footage which is being debated as ‘doctored’ in various sections including petitioner as alleged by the media”.
“But it is totally different and contemporaneously recorded raw unedited video footage. However, the video is not the sole evidence on the basis of which the investigation is proceeding,” it said.