30 JNU students to be questioned in sedition case
Thirty students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will be questioned by the Delhi Police special cell in connection with a sedition case.
In connection with the same case, former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and two ex-members of Democratic Students Union (DSU) —Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya — were arrested and later bailed out.
Investigating officer Umesh Barthwal has sent a notice to JNU vice chancellor, asking him to direct the 30 students of the varsity to join the probe. In the notice that was served under Section 160 of CrPC, Barthwal asked the VC to direct the students, whose names were listed in the notice, to remain present at the administrative block on the campus on any of the three days — Thursday, Friday or Saturday —afternoon onwards.
The name of the daughter of a Communist Party of India (CPI) leader also figures in the list, sources said. On Thursday, nobody turned up for questioning.
On February 9, 2016, a group of JNU students led by Kanhaiya, Umar, and Anirban organised an event on the campus, during which they allegedly shouted anti-India slogans to protest the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The event was attended by some outsiders as well, a few of who were from other universities and colleges in Delhi.
Two days later, a sedition case was registered at the Vasant Kunj police station after a video footage of the event was telecast by a Hindi news channel and police took a suo motu cognizance on the footage they got from the news channel.
A senior special cell officer privy to the case said all the students named in the notice were present at the event and their questioning is required in the probe. “We will record their statements that will be corroborated by the statements of other students, teachers and security personnel, which we have already recorded. Our objective is to question everybody who was there at the venue,” said the officer.
Asked if any of the 30 students was involved in raising anti-national slogans, the officer said a confirmation on that can only be given after completion of the probe as role of all suspects and witnesses is verified and cross-verified. “If found guilty, some of them will be chargesheeted in the case. We will use a few of them as witnesses in the case,” the officer said.
The JNU Students Union criticised the police notice for interrogation and said that certain students named in the list were not even present on that day.
“Some who are not students now, and some others who can’t even be identified, are asked to come for an interrogation. We want to ask, what is this interrogation all about? Why were these names suddenly called? What is the basis of such a list? What is the connection between the names listed with the mentioned date? What are the charges after all? We see this as another attempt to target and threaten students and ultimately to fulfill Sangh’s criminal agenda of destroying a university, where the battle of ideas and critical thinking are a well-cherished practice,” said a statement from JNUSU.
Meanwhile, JNUSU president, Mohit Kumar Pandey, on Thursday approached the police to allege that some websites were mischievously circulating old photographs of JNU students to give false impressions that they were celebrating the recent killing of CRPF men in Sukma.
At least two such photos of JNU students, bearing false captions about them celebrating the Sukma killings, are doing the rounds on social media sites. Pandey, in his complaint submitted to SHO of Vasant Kunj (north) police station, alleged that some specific websites were the source of these photographs.
In reality, one of the photos was captured in September 2015 after the JNUSU polls result was announced, he said. The other photo was taken after former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was granted bail in the sedition case against him.
A senior police officer confirmed receiving the complaint and said the allegations would be probed. No FIR was registered in this connection.