JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, before answering any questions to the police, reportedly had three requests — a pack of cigarettes, newspapers and that they be kept together with Kanhaiya Kumar at the RK Puram police station.
Khalid and Anirban, arrested on charges of sedition for raising anti-India slogans on February 9, are in police custody. Kanhaiya Kumar also was sent to one-day police custody on Thursday by a city court.
Police sources said Khalid confessed that he was a regular smoker and that the last smoke he had was minutes before his surrender. The request for cigarettes was denied.
On Thursday afternoon, police officers were surprised by Khalid and Anirban’s request for lunch. The two reportedly told police they wanted momos and biryani from a dhaba at JNU as they had been missing the food. An officer said the request was denied and they were given food from a local eatery near the police station instead.
“The duo wanted newspapers along with a pack of cigarettes. They were given copies of a Hindi newspaper. The two were taken to an inspector’s room inside the police station and grilled for the whole day,” a police source said.
During questioning Umar, who remained calm throughout, was shown the video on the basis of which the case has been registered and asked to identify people who are seen shouting slogans.
Umar pointing to the laptop screen named a few people, but said that most of the crowd was made up of ‘outsiders’ and not JNU students.
According to sources, Umar denied having raised slogans against the country but admitted that he was shouting slogans for Kashmir’s freedom.
He reportedly told the police that Kashmir’s freedom was a cause he believed in and had been fighting for.
The two, according to police sources, tried dodging questions about their support for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and could not give any answers when they were showed the posters of the protest.
The police have also prepared a questionnaire for Umar, Anirban and Kanhaiya. The three will be quizzed separately and their answers compared to ascertain if there is any discrepancy.
“Even though the students claimed that they were not getting any foreign funding, the police will probe their Maoist links. Since they were in touch with GN Saibaba, a Delhi University professor arrested for his alleged Maoist links, we are probing their Maoist connection,” a police source said.