Sedition, rioting, criminal conspiracy charges slapped on former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, 9 others
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) has termed the charge sheeting of Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in a sedition case as "a clear case of vendetta" allegedly carried out at the "well-planned instruction from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO)."
JNUSU has billed the "submission of the charge sheet after a hiatus of three years as a clear case of vendetta and well-planned instruction from the Prime Minister's office to whip up a frenzy and browbeat those who have emerged as critical voices to the Prime Minister."
The move has "exposed the BJP government's utter failure in running this country just before the Lok Sabha elections due to take place this year," the JNUSU alleged in a statement on Monday.
Delhi Police on Monday slapped the charges of sedition, rioting, and criminal conspiracy among others on former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in a three-year-old incident which rocked the campus of India's premier seat of learning on the evening of February 9, 2016,
"What is most dangerous today is that the various institutions of our country, whether it is the CBI or the Delhi Police have been used by the BJP to target the opposition. As the people of the country are uniting to defeat the anti-people, anti-student, and anti-farmer government of the day, these kinds of tactics are being utilised to stifle the opposition," said the JNUSU.
"JNU as a university has suffered immensely from this government-directed propaganda that has been run against the university. It has to be noted that in the aftermath of February 2016, students' lives were put under threat and the campus environment drastically changed wherein students were put under undue surveillance and ABVP goons got a free hand in instigating violence on many occasions," alleged JNUSU in the statement.
Delhi Police charge sheet, running into 1,200-page and filed at the city-state's Patiala House Court on Monday, contains serious charges against them under various sections of the Indian Penal Code's (IPC) including Section 124A (sedition), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine, forged document), 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 149 (unlawful assembly with common object), 147(rioting), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
The court will take up the matter for consideration and hearing on Tuesday.
Delhi Police are said to have recorded the statement of more than 90 witnesses in the case. Sources said the column number 12 of the charge sheet names 36 people as accused including CPI leader D Raja's daughter Aparajita Raja and former JNUSU vice president Shehla Rashid.
On February 9, 2016, "anti-national" slogans were allegedly raised on the JNU campus during a programme organised to protest against the death sentence handed out to Afzal Guru, a convict in the Parliament attack case, which led to a massive row when the members of ABVP, the student wing of RSS, objected to the programme.
The charge sheet names 10 students, who were enrolled into different courses of the JNU at that point of time, as main accused including Kanahiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students-Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rasool, and Bashir Bhat.
According to information, the Delhi Police have used the video-footage and other documents to support their points in the charge sheet, which has been filed almost after three years the incident.
Reacting to the Delhi Police charge sheet, CPI leader D Raja told ANI: "Even at that time, we had said that these are politically motivated charges and nobody can accuse the All India Student Federation (AISF) of any activity against the nation."
"There is nothing to prove. Our students cannot indulge in such activities. The government can't slap sedition charges on them. We will fight the case in the court," added Raja. "We have fought against the British Raj and we also know how to fight against the BJP Raj," he added.
Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: "No surprises here. We are only months away from the General Election. Like always, using Kashmiris to score extra political points with the Indian electorate has become somewhat of a prerequisite."
"When the UPA was in power, it decided to send Afzal Guru to the gallows and J&K is paying a price. I wonder how many more Kashmiris along with their families will have to pay a price to secure the political fortunes of national parties," Mufti tweeted.
Kanhaiya Kumar too questioned the timing of the Delhi Police to file the charge sheet, accusing the Central government and the BJP of doing so for political gains in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"The charge sheet has been filed just before the Lok Sabha elections. It is politically motivated. The Central government has failed on every front and has fulfilled none of its promises. Therefore, all the cards that they have in their hands are being played by them," said Kanhaiya Kumar.
"The students named in the charge sheet are those who have spoken against the wrong policies and misdoings of the BJP's Central government. Naming 7 Kashmiri students in the charge sheet is an electoral tactic of the Central government to serve their political motives," he said.
However, ABVP leader and JNUSU's former joint secretary Saurabh Sharma said: "A false narrative was given that the videos of the incident are doctored. The delay in filing the charge sheet was because of these reasons. I stand as a proof to what happened there as I witnessed the whole episode myself.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)