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Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid charged with sedition for 2016 JNU protest

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Three years after protest on Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s death anniversary, Delhi Police has filed its chargesheet in the JNU row.

New Delhi: Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya were Monday charged with sedition, rioting and unlawful assembly by Delhi Police.

The charges against them stem from a protest organised on 9 February 2016, on the JNU campus, where students allegedly raised anti-India slogans and chanted in support of Kashmir’s secession from India.

The demonstration was held to mark the third death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was executed by India in 2013.

Delhi Police Monday filed their 1,200-page chargesheet in the case in a local court.

The chargesheet named as accused former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid and CPI Rajya Sabha member D. Raja’s daughter Aparajita, also a student of the university.

The two are among 36 accused who have not been charged due to lack of evidence.

Delhi Police has also charged seven Kashmiris with sedition — Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayees Rasool, Bashir Bhat and Bashara.

The inquiry panel set up by JNU had identified Mujeeb Hussain Gattoo as one of the people seen shouting anti-India slogans such as “Hum kya chahte azadi” and “Hum chheen ke lenge azadi”, calls associated with Kashmiri separatists.

The seven, according to the chargesheet, included “outsiders” — students of other universities and working professionals.

Also read: First they came after JNU, now it’s human rights activists: Umar Khalid

Kanhaiya’s ‘supporting role’

According to the Delhi Police chargesheet, Kanhaiya was leading the procession in question.

He has been accused of “supporting” seditious slogans and doing nothing to stop it. The JNU panel, however, had not found Kanhaiya’s direct role in the slogan-shouting. This has been corroborated by witness statements, according to Delhi Police.

According to the chargesheet, Umar and Anirban raised anti-India slogans, and were the ones who planned the event for which they got in touch with Kashmiri students through social media.

Kanhaiya, who is widely tipped to make his poll debut in the Lok Sabha elections, has dismissed the chargesheet as a pre-election ploy.

“If the news is true that a chargesheet has been filed, I would like to thank police and Modiji,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying. “The filing of chargesheet after three years, [and] ahead of elections, clearly shows it to be politically motivated. I trust the judiciary of my country.”

Also read: What sedition headlines don’t tell you about JNU: It’s a leader in science research


Delhi Police’s witnesses include the JNU administration, JNU students affiliated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP),‎ students affiliated with the now-defunct Democratic Students Union, journalists, including a news channel employee who shot the protest, and security guards on the campus. A few students among the demonstration’s organisers have been named as witnesses too.

Video clips of the event that were aired on national news channels were found to have “not been tampered with”, Delhi Police said in its chargesheet.

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