JNU row: Police confuse media with decoy cars, man in black coat

  • Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 25, 2016 09:19 IST
Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid (C) and Anirban Bhattacharya (R) surrendered before the police in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

The RK Puram police station turned into an arena for a battle of wits between the police and journalists, who were camped outside since early morning, trying to get information about the two arrested JNU students who were being grilled inside.

A cat and mouse game played out in front of the police station throughout the day. The police personnel constantly tried to confuse and engage the journalists who were keeping a hawk eye on every activity.

The entire police staff was divided into two groups – each assigned a different task.

Inside, one group led by two ACPs and three inspectors grilled JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested under sedition charges around 2am on Wednesday, after they surrendered about half an hour before midnight.

In contrast, the environment outside was more or less relaxed. Behind the barricade at the main gate, a posse of policemen engaged journalists in the game -- chatting, joking but revealing little.

There was some drama outside as well when the journalists caught sight of two muffled men being bundled into a waiting police vehicle (the official Toyota Quails of an ACP) around 2.30pm.

Suddenly, all eyes and the focus of cameras were on the Qualis. Within five minutes, the Qualis, escorted by two police Gypsys, left the police station.

Most of the journalists went behind the police vehicles and chased them till the Vasant Vihar police station. But nobody was sure whether the two students were there in the vehicle or not.

Eventually, it turned out to be a ruse to divert attention.

The journalists understood the police’s game only when they saw one muffled man coming out of the police vehicle and contacted their sources at the RK Puram police station, who confirmed that the accused were still inside.

After an hour, even senior officers confirmed that one of the policemen was seated in the vehicle as a dummy to deflect the attention of the media persons for a smooth legal procedure as the two JNU students were to be produced before the judicial magistrate.

The cat and mouse game continued till late evening when the journalists caught sight of a man in a black coat entering the police station in a Santro car that had police stickers. The whole objective of the police exercise was to keep journalists guessing about their plans and ensure a smooth court proceeding.

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