JNU panel found no ‘direct link’ between Kanhaiya Kumar and anti-India slogans raised at 2016 campus row, but Delhi Police has charged him with sedition.
New Delhi: Delhi Police Monday charged former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) chief Kanhaiya Kumar with sedition for allegedly “supporting” the chant of “anti-India” slogans at a controversial protest march on the campus three years ago.
However, JNU’s own inquiry panel had failed to establish any “direct link” between Kanhaiya and the raising of slogans at the 9 February 2016 protest, which was held to mark the third death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Even so, both agencies claim to have arrived at their conclusions on the basis of the same source: Eyewitness statements.
According to the JNU inquiry report, which was accessed by ThePrint, Kanhaiya was present at the venue of the protest and also walked with the procession, but it could not establish if he shouted or supported the slogans.
‘Not video evidence’
On the basis of the report, the committee had just fined Kanhaiya Rs 10,000, while his fellow accused, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were rusticated.
“As per many eyewitness depositions, Kanhaiya Kumar, Rama Naga [JNU student leader] and Anirban [Bhattacharya] addressed the gathering here [at Ganga Dhaba], however, what they said was not audible to them,” the report noted.
The high-level five-member committee, which comprised JNU professors Rakesh Bhatnagar, H.S. Bohidar, Sumar K. Dhar, GJV Prasad and Ummu Salma Bawa, was constituted on 11 February to probe the events of 9 February. It had filed its report on 11 March.
Delhi Police officials, too, said Kanhaiya had been charged with sedition on the basis of witness statements and not “video evidence”.
According to their chargesheet, filed in a local court Monday, the former JNUSU president was seen giving a speech by eyewitnesses, which they said confirmed that he was supporting seditious slogans.
For Anirban and Umar, the chargesheet says they were “seen shouting slogans”.
According to Delhi Police officials, another reason why Kanhaiya has been charged with sedition is because he was aware of the event and present there, which, they said, makes him a part of the criminal conspiracy legally. In his statement to police, Kanhaiya had said he was only present at the event by virtue of being the student union president.