Court to consider chargesheet against Kanhaiya, others on Jan 19
New Delhi: The hearing in the sedition case against Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and 9 others was scheduled to January 19 by the Patiala House Court in Delhi. It charged Kanhaiya Kumar, former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya and seven others for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on the university campus on February 9, 2016 to commemorate the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
Hitting at the government Kanhaiya Kumar claimed that the 1200 pages charge sheet was "politically motivated". Kanhaiya said "We urge the government to ensure speedy trial of the case, so that truth is revealed at the earliest". Taking a similar stance, Khalid called the move a witch-hunt.
"We are convinced about our innocence. Delhi Police's charge sheet is nothing but a witch-hunt against us. I have full faith in the judiciary. The truth will prevail," Khalid
Former vice president of the students' union Shehla Rashid, Communist Party of India leader D Raja's daughter Aprajita Raja, and student leaders Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Banojyotsna Lahiri are among 36 people named in column 12 of the charge sheet because of insufficient evidence against them.
"In a way, it is good that the matter will finally move to the actual court room after almost three years of media trials, once proven innocent in court, after which they would "take to task" all media houses that spread falsehoods against them" Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhatacharya said in a joint statement.
In Khalid's case who is also charged for forgery beside other charges, the police have also cited call detail records suggesting that he got in touch with Kumar, Bhattacharya and three of the Kashmiri co-accused.
There are witnesses who have testified against Khalid, Bhattacharya and five of the seven Kashmiri men charged with sedition.
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.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) said in a statement, "We see this 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."
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram termed the charges "absurd" while his party said it hoped that the legal process will be carried out rightfully.