JNU sedition row: Draft charge sheet names Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid in anti-national slogans case

By: | Published: December 21, 2018 9:51 AM

According to police, the main charge sheet will comprise around 100 pages and will have forensic reports, statements and technical evidence as annexures.

According to police sources, the investigating officer in the case has identified the eight Kashmiri students, including two brothers, after questioning Khalid and recording the statements of other students. (Photo Source: Indian Express)

Over three years after the February event to commemorate the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru created a flutter at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and national politics after reports of anti-national slogans being raised inside the campus, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell has finalised the draft charge sheet in the case, naming Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya as the main accused.

Kanhaiya was the JNU students’ union president at the time.

An FIR of sedition was registered against students of Jawaharlal Nehru University for purportedly raising “anti-national slogans” during an event on campus. Police have included ‘eight Kashmiri students’ in the draft charge sheet. The draft charge sheet has been sent to the public prosecutor for further investigation and is expected to be filed in the Patiala House Courts soon.

Apart from the three, police have identified ‘eight others’ after questioning Khalid and recording the statements of other students in the draft charge sheet. According to an official, police collected evidence after scanning the social media profiles of some of the students. One of them posted a slogan raised at the event on Facebook. Most of these students were asked to mobilise people for the event.

On condition of anonymity, a senior police officer told The Indian Express that the police have found concrete evidence against the eight others, all hailing from Kashmir. Two of them are students at JNU, two at Jamia Millia Islamia, one at Aligarh Muslim University, one is a Muradnagar-based doctor and two are students. According to police sources, the draft charge sheet also includes the names of 32 others, including former JNU students’ union vice-president Shehla Rashid, but there is insufficient evidence against them.

The charge sheet is based on the FIR filed days after the event was held on February 9, 2016, to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The FIR states that “anti-national” slogans were professedly raised at the event. As per the police sources, the charge sheet was delayed since forensic reports on data from mobile phones and laptops of the accused were received only recently. According to an officer, in one of the reports, the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, CBI, found that raw video footage of the event was authentic.

Vrinda Grover, Kanhaiya Kumar’s lawyer, told The Indian Express that she was not aware of the status of the charge sheet. She claimed that it is clearly a politically motivated case as Kanhaiya Kumar is contesting elections. She alleged that it is being done for extraneous political reasons which are an abuse of process and misuse of police in the political arena. Grover said that they had contested right from the beginning that it’s not a case of sedition. Moreover, the allegations were also fabricated, she alleged.

According to police, the main charge sheet will comprise around 100 pages and will have forensic reports, statements and technical evidence as annexures.

Following the campus event, a high-level enquiry committee set up by JNU had said in its report that 10-15 “outsiders” who had their faces covered with “cloth/scarf” had raised the slogans. As per the panel, the presence of these “outsiders” was verified by security staff as well as eyewitnesses.

In the aftermath, Police had arrested Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya on charges of sedition. Later, all three got bail. Initially, a case was registered at Vasant Kunj (north) police station on February 11, 2016, under IPC Section 124-A (sedition). The case was later transferred to the Special Cell and during the investigation, two more IPC sections, ‘147’ ‘punishment for rioting’ and ‘149’ ‘unlawful assembly’ were added.

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