JNU row: Delhi Police acted in haste, leaves government red-faced

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 19, 2016 09:25 IST
Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi coming out after meeting from Prime Minister's office South Block in New Delhi on Wednesday. The PMO sources have revealed that Modi is unhappy with the way Delhi Police handled the JNU issue. (Arvind Yadav/ HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unhappy with the way Delhi Police have handled the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) controversy, some officers in the force have hinted.

The Prime Minister is also not happy with the Delhi Police’s urgency to arrest JNU Student Union’s president Kanhaiya Kumar under sedition charges.

Modi on Wednesday, unlike last year, chose to skip the at-home function of the Delhi Police’s Raising Day ceremony, despite police commissioner BS Bassi visiting his office and personally inviting him, said officials.

Some officials believe that the Prime Minister may have skipped the police function as he was upset over the police’s swift action in the JNU case and their alleged ‘no-reaction’ approach at the Patiala House court where journalists, students and Kumar were assaulted by lawyers on two days.

Bassi has left many red faces in the government.

Read | JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar was not assaulted in Patiala Courts: Bassi

‘Amateurish’ is the word a senior Indian Police Service officer, working at the Centre, chose to describe the Delhi Police’s handling of the situation.

The announcement of Tihar Jail director general Alok Verma’s name as the next Delhi Police chief, soon after Wednesday’s at-home ceremony, is also being seen as Modi’s reaction to the poor-handling of the JNU issue that has caused turmoil in Delhi and other states, police sources said.

The police chief’s branding the attack on journalists and students at the Patiala House complex as a “minor issue” and failing to stop a rerun of violence on Wednesday, despite assurances, has also displeased the Prime Minister.

“What Bassi is trying to achieve may be right, but sometimes one needs to avoid making such comments,” said an aide to Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

Bassi had been summoned to Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday with no official reasons being given about his summoning. “Generally, one doesn’t get summoned to PMO to be praised,” said another senior IPS officer, who heads a Central police organisation.

Read | JNU Bassi ke bas ka nahi: Thousands march for Kanhaiya Kumar

On Wednesday, Bassi had said he had gone to the PMO to invite PM Modi for the at-home function.

The top cop has so far been defending the police action against the JNUSU president and justifying Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, saying they have enough evidence to prove the sedition charges against him. Some police officers, however, believe that Kanhaiya’s arrest was unjustified as police do not have evidence to prove that he was the one shouting anti-India slogans. They have also questioned the police’s decision to register a sedition case two days after the JNU event, after a video footage was provided to them.

Some officers say that investigators should have instead arrested former DSU member Umar Khalid for sedition as the video footage shows him shouting anti-national slogans. “The situation would not have escalated if Khalid had been arrested,” the officer said.

“Police is looking for videos of Kanhiaya to see whether he actually made seditious comments,” said a home ministry official. The comment came after Kanhaiya’s questioning in custody for five days by the city police.

Read | Bassi jaisa koi nahin: A career marked with controversies

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