Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid Named as Delhi Police File 1,200-Page Chargesheet in JNU Sedition Case
The three were accused of raising “anti-India slogans” during a poetry-reading gathering of students at Sabarmati Dhaba inside the JNU campus on February 9, 2016.
File photo of former JNU Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
New Delhi: Almost three years after former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and 9 others were accused of raising anti-India slogans, the Delhi police on Monday charged them with sedition.
Defending himself Kumar described the chargesheet as "politically motivated" and questioned its timing, which comes just months ahead of the Lok Sabha poll.
"If the news is true that a chargesheet has been filed, I would like to thank police and Modi Ji. The filing of chargesheet after 3 years, ahead of elections clearly shows it to be politically motivated. I trust the judiciary of my country," said Kanhaiya.
The 1,200-page charge sheet in which former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were also named as accused was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Anand who put it up for consideration before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate(CMM) on Tuesday.
Kumar, Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested and later got bail.
It will be left to the CMM whether or not to take cognisance of the chargesheet in what is known as the JNU sedition case. The maximum punishment for sedition is life term.
The police claimed it has video clips to prove the offence which has been corroborated by the statements of the witnesses and that Kumar was leading a procession and allegedly supported seditious slogans raised on the JNU campus in February 2016.
The other seven accused chargesheeted in the case are Kashmiri students Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat, some of them were then studying in JNU, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia.
As many as 36 others, including Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja's daughter Aprajita, Shehla Rashid (then vice-JNUSU president), Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Banojyotsna Lahiri, all former students of JNU, have been named in column 12 of the chargesheet due to insufficient evidence against them, police sources said.
The accused have been charged with offences under sections 124A (sedition), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 143 (punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly), 149 (being a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The 10 accused have been charge sheeted on the basis of electronic evidence, including CCTV footage and mobile footage, and documentary evidence, which include statements of students and security guards.
In the chargesheet, police claimed that all the footage was genuine and the presence of students belonging to Kashmir was also established through mobile clips and videos.
It claimed that the Kashmiri students had masks on during the procession, but did not cover their faces while returning. This showed their involvement, police said.
The final report by the police claimed that no permission was granted to organise the event and every member was a part of an unlawful assembly.
When informed about the lack of permission to hold the event, the accused persons started arguing and fighting, it said.
A case was registered on February 11, 2016 under sections 124A and 120B of the IPC against unidentified persons at the Vasant Kunj (North) police station, following complaints from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Maheish Girri and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS.
Khalid, who addressed a student gathering at St. Joseph's College in Bangalore on the "role of youth in safeguarding the Constitution", said, "We reject the allegations. The move to file the chargesheet three years after the alleged incident is an attempt to divert the attention (of the people) right before (parliamentary) elections. We will fight it out in court."
"We congratulate the Delhi Police, the Home Ministry and the government for waking up from their deep slumber 3 years after 9 Feb 2016, and barely 3 months before the general elections 2019 and filing a charge sheet against us," Khalid and Bhattacharya said in a joint statement.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram dubbed the charges against Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the JNU sedition case as "absurd" while his party said it hoped that the legal process will be carried out rightfully.
(With agency inputs)
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