New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) Three years after former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested for alleged sedition, the Delhi Police on Monday filed a charge-sheet naming them and seven Kashmiri students as accused in the case saying anti-national slogans were raised at the event.
The charge-sheet was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Sumeet Anand, who posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
Both Kumar and Khalid have questioned the filing of the charge-sheet ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and said the police action was “politically motivated” and a “diversionary ploy” by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
The police have slapped charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) dealing with sedition, voluntarily causing hurt, forgery, using as genuine a forged document, punishment for unlawful assembly, unlawful assembly with common object, rioting and criminal conspiracy.
Citing video footage captured during the event, police have alleged in the charge-sheet that anti-national slogans were raised by the accused, who were part of the event held in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in February 2016,
The charge-sheet mentions various slogans including, ‘hum kya chahhte Azadi’ (we want freedom) and ‘bharat tere tukde honge inshaallah’ (India will break into pieces), police sources said.
The police said that Umar Khalid-led Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), now disbanded, had organised the event. The University withdrew the permission when it came to know that event was organised to commemorate Afzal Guru, who was hanged for his role in the Parliament attack.
However, the DSU continued with the event, which was attended by Kanhaiya Kumar and other student leaders, police said.
Kashmiri students from other various universities were also present in the event and had raised various anti-national slogans.
Police have invoked electronic evidence and statements of various students, staff and security guard to press its charges.
The case involves an event organised on the JNU campus in February 2016 against the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru during which “anti-national slogans” were raised.
Besides Kumar, the then Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president, former students union vice president Shehla Rashid and Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja’s daughter Aparajita have also been named in the chargesheet, but not as accused.
While 36 others, including Rashid and Aparajita, have also been named for being present at the controversial event, the police have not “found any sufficient and incriminting evidence” against them.
Along with Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya, seven students from Jammu and Kashmir — Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat– have been slapped with various offences, including sedition, unlawful assembly and criminal conspiracy.
The police claim to have sufficient evidence to proceed against them.
The police have listed around 90 people, which include JNU staff and security personnel, as witnesses in the case. CCTV and mobile footage are also a part of chargesheet.
Reacting to the filing of the chargesheet, Kanhaiya Kumar said it was a diversionary ploy by the Modi government to hide its all-round failures.
“I have not received any summons or information from the court. But if it is true, then we are thankful to the police and Modi that finally after 3 years, when it is time is for him and his government to go, the chargesheet has been filed. But what is pertinent is the timing of the charge-sheet — just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“It is evident that there is a political motive behind this. The motive is that the Modi government has been a failure in all aspects, it has not been able to fulfil even a single promise, so it is playing all its cards to divert the attention,” he told the media.
Pointing to the chargesheet being filed after 3 years of the incident, he said the Modi government, just as all its other promises, was “not serious” and was using the issue now as a political tool.
Shehla Rashid too accused the Modi government of using the issue to derive political mileage.
“Modi government has used this manufactured controversy in instalments. The next instalment would be on the nomination day for 2019 elections,” tweeted Rashid with hashtag “JitteryModi” .
Denying the charges, Khalid said the Modi government was trying to change the narrative in an election year to hide its failure.