Elgar Parishad case: NIA says JNU, TISS students recruited for terror
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has claimed students of reputed institutes like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) were recruited to carry out terrorist activities in the country.
In its draft charge sheet submitted before a special court in Mumbai earlier this month in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, the premier investigating agency said the accused wanted to establish their own government and "wage a war against the nation".
"The accused recruited students from various universities, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Tata Institute of Social Science for commission of terrorist activity," it said in the draft, a copy of which was made available on Monday.
The NIA has laid down 17 charges against 15 accused, including human rights and civil rights activists, and they have been sought to be charged under various sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It has alleged that the accused persons were active members of the banned terror outfit CPI (Maoist). The arrested accused in the case include activists and academicians Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Hany Babu, Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Gautam Navlakha and others. Elderly tribal rights activist and an accused in the case, Stan Swamy passed away in custody on July 5 this year after suffering a cardiac arrest.
The Elgar Parishad case is related to inflammatory speeches made at a conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which, the police claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city. The prosecution claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.
The NIA said the main objective of the accused was to establish a "Janata Sarkar (people's government) through revolution and armed struggle to seize power from the State". The draft also claimed that the accused attempted to "wage war against the Governments of India and Maharashtra".
Framing of charges is the first step before trial commences in the case where the prosecution describes the charges against the accused along with the evidence to be relied upon. After the framing of charges, the court will ask the accused whether they plead guilty or not in the case. The draft further claimed the accused had been playing provocative songs, enacting short plays and skits in Pune during the Elgar Parishad meeting and distributing Naxal literature.
"That the criminal conspiracy was an intention to bring about secession of a part of territory of India and incite individuals to bring about such a secession," it said. It further alleged that the accused had an intent to strike terror in the minds of people by using explosive substances.
The accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 120-B (conspiracy), 115 (abetment of offence), 121, 121-A (waging war against state), 124-A (sedition), 153-A (arms in procession), 505(1)(B) (statements promoting mischief) and 34 (common intention). They have also been charged under UAPA Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 18A, 18B, 20 (punishment for terrorist activities), 38, 39 and 40 (punishment for being part of terrorist organisation).
(With agency inputs)