Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar said the Delhi Police’s move to file a 1200-page charge sheet against him and others in a sedition case on Monday was "politically motivated" and questioned its timing, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. "The charge sheet is politically motivated. However, we want the charges to be framed and a speedy trial in the case so that the truth comes out. We also want to see the videos that have been placed on record as evidence by the police," Kumar told news agency PTI.
The Delhi Police also charged former students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya in the three-year-old sedition case. As many as 36 others, including Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja's daughter Aprajita, Shehla Rashid (then vice-president of the JNUSU), Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Banojyotsna Lahiri have been named in column 12 of the charge sheet due to insufficient evidence against them, police sources said.
The charge sheet has been filed under the Indian Penal Code section 124A (sedition), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine, forged document), 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 149 (unlawful assembly with common object), 147(rioting), & 120B (criminal conspiracy). The Patiala House Court will consider the charge sheet filed by the police on Tuesday.
.@DelhiPolice on 2016 JNU sedition case: Charge sheet filed. Names of 10 persons have been sent to court, requesting to initiate a trial. Names of 36 persons have been put in the list of persons against whom sufficient evidence hasn't come on file so far to launch trial.
📷: ANI pic.twitter.com/6QVpXQtGMz— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) January 14, 2019
“If the news is true that a charge sheet has been filed, I would like to thank police and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi Ji. The filing of charge sheet after 3 years, ahead of elections clearly shows it to be politically motivated. I trust the judiciary of my country.”
Others who have been named in the charge sheet are Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rasool, Bashir Bhat. The Delhi Police charged these student leaders for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event organised on JNU campus on February 9, 2016 to commemorate the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru. Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Anand put up the charge sheet for consideration before a court on Tuesday. The police alleged that Kanhaiya was inciting, being part of the mob shouting anti-India slogan.
Khalid, who addressed a student gathering at St. Joseph's College in Bangalore on the "role of youth in safeguarding the Constitution", said: "We reject the allegations. The move to file the charge sheet three years after the alleged incident is an attempt to divert the attention (of the people) right before (parliamentary) elections. We will fight it out in court."
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) leader Shehla Rashid, who had led the campaign for the release of Kumar and other students, said: "This is a completely bogus case in which ultimately everyone will be acquitted. The timing of the charge sheet right before the elections just reflects how the BJP wants to reap electoral benefits out of this. I was not even on campus on the day of the event."
D Raja said: "It is politically motivated. After three years Delhi police is filing the charge sheet in the case. We will fight it legally in court and politically outside court."
The February 9 event happened despite the varsity administration having cancelled the permission following a complaint by the ABVP, who had termed it as "anti-national".
(With PTI inputs)