Former Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani was arrested on Tuesday morning for sedition and other charges.
Geelani — who was present on the dais along with three other speakers at a Press Club event on February 10 where slogans hailing Afzal Guru was raised — has been remanded to two-day police custody by a Delhi court.
Sources said Geelani did not join the investigation and was apprehended after which he was placed under arrest around 3am on Tuesday.
“The accused has said that he can identify those who raised anti-India slogans... Since he (Geelani) was the convener of the meeting, therefore, the case of granting of police custody is made out,” Metropolitan magistrate Harvinder Singh said.
Delhi police had sought Geelani’s custody for two days to identify people involved in raising anti-India slogans.
The police told the court that an event was held on February 10 in which banners were placed showing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs and anti-national slogans along with slogans demanding independence for Kashmir were raised.
It also said the hall in the club was booked by Geelani through one person Ali Javed. A third person, Mudassar, was also involved.
The police told the court that it has also accessed CCTV footage in which some unidentified persons were seen shouting slogans and Geelani needed to identify them.
Senior police officers privy to the investigation claimed that they have been probing a ‘deeper conspiracy’ behind the Press Club of India event which probably was interlinked with the controversial JNU event.
“Our priority is to identify the suspects who we believe are associated with Geelani. We will confront Geelani with the PCI member Ali Javed in whose name the conference hall was booked. Geelani was arrested after Javed spilled the beans on him during his questioning,” said the officer.
Advocate Satish Tamta, appearing for Geelani, opposed the police custody saying he was only the convener and the event was open for all.
“If people have come and shouted slogans, I am not responsible. I cannot get anyone arrested as I don’t recognize anybody. The entry to the event was open. Whatever I know, I have already told them in the past one day. Besides this, every other information is available in public domain. There is no need for my custody,” Tamta said while representing Geelani.
Geelani’s police custody comes amid a raging row over the arrest of JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges in connection to an event at the varsity campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9.