The bail plea of JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on sedition charges for allegedly chanting “anti-national” slogans at an event in the university, will come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Kumar had moved the apex court seeking bail on Thursday, claiming threat to his life in Tihar Jail, where he was sent on Wednesday in 14-day judicial custody. He was roughed up and chased away from the Patiala House Court by agitating lawyers when he was taken there during the day.
Kumar said in his petition there was no need for his custodial interrogation as he has already been sent to judicial custody. He claimed his innocence and said no purpose would be served by keeping him in the jail as the police have been finding it difficult to produce him even in the court.
In his application, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president sought protection of “life and limb”, saying there is “great likelihood of an attack on him in prison” and said there was a need for the apex court to intervene.
Kanhaiya was arrested on February 11 after police registered a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy against him. On February 12 he was remanded to police custody for three days. On February 17, the metropolitan magistrate sent him to 14 days judicial custody.
Meanwhile, thousands of students, teachers and civil society members across the country protested on Thursday against the arrest of the JNU leader as a bitter row over free speech and nationalism spilled into the streets.
Clashes were reported in several states, as the BJP launched a nationwide Jan Swabhiman Abhiyan to back action against students of the Delhi-based university who allegedly raised anti-India slogans on the campus this month.
An estimated 5,000 people chanting “release Kanhaiya Kumar” and “down with state terrorism” marched through the heart of Delhi in one of the biggest student protests India has seen in years.