Afzal Guru protests: Police slap charges of sedition, conspiracy

On Tuesday, students had clashed over an event organised on the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged. Police had to be deployed on campus to restore order.

Written by Aranya Shankar , Alok Singh | New Delhi | Published:February 12, 2016 3:10 am
afzal, afzal guru, afzal guru hanging anniversary, afzal guru death anniversary, security in srinagar Afzal Guru (File photo)

Delhi Police Thursday registered charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy against ‘unknown people’ after a fracas between student groups in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) earlier this week.

On Tuesday, students had clashed over an event organised on the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged. Police had to be deployed on campus to restore order.

According to JNU registrar Bupinder Zutshi, the university’s Proctorial Committee, which was probing “indiscipline” by the students, has been given two weeks to submit its report. The students had gone ahead with the programme even after permission to hold it was withdrawn by the administration.

“The three-member committee is being headed by Professor Rakesh Bhatnagar and includes Professor Himadri Bohidar and Professor Suman Kumar Dhar, who are all senior faculty members with no political or party leanings. Given the urgency of the matter, we have given them two weeks to submit their report,” said Zutshi.

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The FIR was lodged after BJP MP from East Delhi Maheish Girri gave a written complaint against “anti-constitutional and anti-national elements” in JNU to Police Commissioner B S Bassi. Girri also wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and sought their intervention to “stop such activities.”

A case under Section 124A (sedition) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) has been registered against unknown persons at Vasant Kunj North police station, confirmed Deputy Commissioner of Police Prem Nath.

According to sources, police have collected video footage of the event from students as well as the media and have also questioned several students. The police will also investigate the alleged use of arms used during the protest.

Earlier in the day, Zutshi met with JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and secretary Rama Naga Thursday, who have expressed apprehensions about the probe.

“All three members belong to the science stream… not one of them is from the social sciences… neither do they represent the marginalised sections, which some of the accused students belong to. We tried to put these issues before the registrar, but we are not confident if they will be addressed,” said Kumar.

While the JNUSU has condemned the “anti-national” and “undemocratic” slogans raised during the event Tuesday, the ABVP has accused the student union of having “double standards” and speaking up too late.

“At the outset, we would like to condemn the undemocratic slogans that were raised by some people on that day. It is important to note that the slogans were not raised by members of the Left organisations or JNU students. In fact, when the sloganeering took place, it was the Left progressive organisations and students who asked the organisers to stop slogans that are regressive,” read a JNUSU statement.