Delhi University professor SAR Geelani was booked by police on Friday under charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans and hailing executed Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as a martyr.
Along with Geelani, professor Ali Javed was named as the organiser of a political meeting at the Press Club of India where the alleged incident took place. Javed was released late Friday evening after being questioned at the Parliament Street police station and told to present himself for questioning on Saturday. Police said after Javed’s interrogation, Geelani would be summoned to join the investigation.
Geelani was arrested in 2001 for his alleged role in the Parliament attack case and convicted by a trial court. The Supreme Court acquitted him in 2005 for lack of evidence but remarked there was serious suspicion whether Geelani was unaware of the planning behind the attack.
In the FIR registered on Friday, the Press Club general secretary said a first floor hall was booked by Javed, a member, from 3-6pm on February 10. The official told police that around 5.30pm, when he heard commotion in the meeting hall, he went upstairs and saw Geelani shouting anti-India slogans. “Geelani and his friends were hailing Afzal Guru as a martyr. After much difficulty, we stopped them and ended their meeting,” the official’s statement in the FIR read.
The club served a showcause notice on Ali. Geelani did not respond to HT’s calls and text messages requesting a comment. Police sources said during the investigation it emerged that permission for booking the hall was sent from Geelani’s email address. DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal said Geelani was the main organiser of the event.
Police sources said Ali and Press Club office-bearers had been asked for video and audio footage. Ali is learnt to have told police the meeting was not videographed.
“The investigation has just started. The organisers had booked the hall for a political meeting. During the function, they reportedly shouted slogans such as ‘Afzal Guru Amar Rahe’ and ‘Kashmir leke rahengay’. Ali claims he was not aware of Geelani’s plans to raise such slogans,” an investigating officer said.