The Delhi Police has charged Former JNUSU President and others such as Umar Khalid and Anirban in a Sedition case.
The New Leam Staff
On Monday (14th January) the Delhi Police filed a charge sheet against the former JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar along with several others in a sedition case that was lodged in 2016. The Delhi police has also declared charges against some of the former JNU students and members of the JNUSU like Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for having made us of slogans that were ‘anti-national’ in nature during an event that had been organised in the JNU campus in February,2016.
The Twenty First Law Commission in its working paper has reminded the nation that criticism of the state’s policies or the ideology of the government does not amount to sedition because people in a democratic country have the right to express their dissent and condemn the government’s policies.
The students of JNU have been charged of sedition and this implies an act of trying to destabilise the government or the usage of violent means to overthrow a democratically elected government. In recent years we have seen how opposition to the state’s policies or expression of dissent has often been dealt with charges of sedition. Assamese intellectuals Manjit Mahanta and Hiren Gohain were also charged with sedition on opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
The event where it is alleged that the students shouted anti-national slogans was held on February 9th, 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru. It was in this case that former vice-president of JNUSU Shehla Rashid has also been named despite not being charged for the same.
The other students who have been charged in this case are Aquib Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Umar Gil, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat, Aparajita Raja and Bashrat Ali. The Metropolitan magistrate has now put up the charges sheet to be considered by the court.
The police have claimed that Kanhaiya Kumar incited the crowd and was part of the group that was chanting anti-national slogans. The students are asserting that the timing at which this charge sheet has appeared tells more about a politically motivated strategy by the ruling part ahead of the elections this year.
What will remain to be seen is whether the students alleged for sedition will now get a fair trial to defend themselves. The students feel that ahead of the elections this is an assault on their freedom but retain their faith in the nation’s judiciary for ultimately unfolding the truth.