Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar has told a Supreme Court-appointed probe panel that the Delhi Police did not arrest the person who assaulted him in the Patiala House court premises even after he was identified.
A video clip aired by television channels on Saturday purportedly showed Kumar saying, “They (the mob) came till the gate of the court, and one man came chasing after me to the next room. He sat behind me. I told my teacher that this was the man who thrashed me. When the police asked that person for his identity, he countered by asking the policeman to show his identity card. Then the person left the place, and the police did nothing (to arrest him).”
A mob of lawyers brazenly attacked Kumar as well as journalists in the Patiala House court premises on February 17, while the student leader was being brought there in connection with allegedly seditious slogans raised on the JNU campus earlier that month.
Kumar also described the manner in which he was assaulted by men in lawyers’ robes in the court premises, even as the police looked on. “When the police brought me through the court’s gate, a mob… attacked me. It appeared as if they were ready to attack,” he said.
The JNUSU president said he was nearly disrobed in the violence.
The panel of six advocates – Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Dushyant Dave, ADN Rao, Ajit Kumar Sinha and Haren Raval – had visited the Patiala House premises on the day of the attack, after the apex court was informed about the incident.
The video showed Sibal calling up DCP Jatin Narwal after Kumar had narrated the incident to the panel.
“How did you allow the attack to take place inside the court premises? Your men were there. What were they doing? How was he (the main attacker) allowed to come inside?” the DCP was asked.
Narwal, in response, said that the attacker had come with the escort party, and entered the room adjacent to the courtroom.
Other police officers who spoke to the panel said that the attacker claimed to be Kumar’s lawyer.
The panel members then asked Kumar if he could identify his attacker as well as the policemen who were present at the spot. The student leader replied in the positive.
At this juncture, the panel members reminded the DCP that Kumar’s safety was his responsibility. “Do not give excuses. This is unbelievable. You are now under the Supreme Court’s order, not (police commissioner) BS Bassi’s.”
The panel had earlier taken stock of the situation at the Patiala House court, and told the Supreme Court that Kumar’s safety was under “serious threat”.
The video also showed the student leader’s lawyer, Vrindra Grover, accusing the police of failing to protect his client. “There was lot of sloganeering as we entered. We couldn’t help but feel anxious. I told police and the registrar general to ensure Kanhaiya’s safety as we were in a hostile environment,” he said.
The Delhi Police has come under heavy fire for not taking appropriate action against the lawyers who assaulted the JNUSU president.