Sedition charges in India: Before Kanhaiya, Umar there were others

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 26, 2016 10:17 IST
Kanhaiya Kumar (C), head of the student union at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), is escorted by police outside the Patiala House court in New Delhi (REUTERS)

JNU students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya have been arrested on charges of sedition for allegedly organising an event on February where anti-India slogans were shouted.

Kumar, JNU students’ union president, has denied the charges. The video clip on whose basis he was arrested is said to be doctored.

Khalid and Bhattacharya are in police custody. Kumar also was sent to one-day police custody on Thursday by a city court.

Professor Virender, a close aide of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, was on Wednesday booked for sedition on the basis of an audio clip where he is heard telling a Khap leader to start a violent Jat agitation in Sirsa. He too has denied the charge.

Here are others who were slapped with sedition charges in the past:

Kovan, a singer, was arrested for sedition in October 2015 for uploading “defamatory” electronic content against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. He was later granted bail.

Hardik Patel, who has been demanding reservation for his community, has been booked for sedition last year for allegedly advising a Patel youth, Vipul Desai, to kill policemen rather than committing suicide. He is in jail.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, a legislator of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, was slapped with sedition charge for a speech he delivered at Andhra Pradesh in 2013 on the ground that he was trying to provoke hatred among religious communities.

Assem Trivedi, a Kanpur-based cartoonist, was booked for sedition during Ann Hazare’s anti-corruption rally in Mumbai in 2011.

Binayak Sen, a public health expert working in Chhattisgarh, was booked for sedition for allegedly supporting Maoists. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by Raipur sessions court for sedition and helping Maoists in 2010. He was granted bail in 2011, by the Supreme Court.

Arundhati Roy, a writer and political activist, was charged with sedition for advocating independence for Kashmir at a seminar along with Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in 2010.

Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar, was charged with four different cases of sedition for shouting pro-Khalistan slogans in 2005 in the Golden Temple.

Praveen Togadia, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, was booked for sedition in 2003 by the Rajasthan government after he defied prohibition orders and distributed tridents.

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