JNU case: Kanhaiya Kumar charged with sedition, calls it pre-poll politics
New Delhi: A charge-sheet was filed today by Delhi Police against former student union leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and others for allegedly holding an ‘anti-national’ event at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi in February 2016.
Besides Kumar, the police have also accused former student activists Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya in connection with alleged ‘anti-national’ event organized on the JNU campus against the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru during which “anti-national slogans” were raised.
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar questioned the timing of the charge-sheet against him and others in a sedition case, calling it a “political motive” of the “failed” Modi government.
The Delhi police has put various allegations against them in charge-sheet which includes sedition, unlawful assembly and criminal conspiracy.
Their arrest triggered a widespread outrage and condemnation by opposition parties and civil society members.
Among others named in the charge-sheet but not made accused, include former JNUSU vice president Shehla Rashid and Communist Party of India leader D Raja’s daughter Aparajita.
Reacting to the development, 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 charge-sheet 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 fulfill even a single promise, so it is playing all its cards to divert the attention,” he further said.
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 using the issue now as a political tool.
“If the government was really serious about the case and maintained that we did indulge in anti national activities, then why did it take 3 years to file the charge-sheet, that too just before the polls?” he questioned.
Shehla Rashid too accused Modi government of using the issue political gain.
“Modi government has used this manufactured controversy in installments. The next installment would be on the nomination day for 2019 elections,” tweeted Rashid with hashtag “JitteryModi” .
The police said they have evidence to proceed against former JNU Students’ Union leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven students from Jammu and Kashmir – Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat.
They have been accused of organizing an event on the college campus against the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru. Their arrests then had triggered a huge controversy with the opposition slamming the police for “working at the behest of the ruling BJP”.
Reacting to the 1,200-page chargesheet, Kanhaiya Kumar said it is “politically motivated”. “If the news is true that a charge-sheet has been filed, I would like to thank police and Modi ji. The filing of charge-sheet after three years, ahead of elections, clearly shows it to be politically motivated. I trust the judiciary of my country,” kanhaiya said to media.
Umar Khalid also denied the allegations against him and told media that “The government is trying to divert attention and change the narrative in an election year to hide their failure. We will fight the case and prove our innocence.”
The police said there is no direct evidence against 36 other accused, including Communist Party of India leader D Raja’s daughter Aprajita, but they can be summoned for questioning.
“Even at that time we said that these are politically motivated charges and nobody can accuse AISF (All India Students Federation) for any activity against nation. There’s nothing to prove, our students can’t indulge in such activities and the government can’t slap sedition charges on them. We’ll fight the case,” D Raja told press.