JNU row: SAR Geelani arrested, sent to two-day police custody

The police arrested Geelani at 3:00 am on Tuesday morning and took him to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital for a medical check-up.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: February 29, 2016 2:23 am
SAR Geelani at the Patiala House Courts Complex. (Express Photo Prem Nath Pandey) SAR Geelani at the Patiala House Courts Complex. (Express Photo Prem Nath Pandey)

Amid heavy security, former Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani was sent to two-day police custody by a Delhi court Tuesday. Geelani had been arrested earlier in the day on charges of sedition in connection with an event held at the Press Club of India (PCI) on February 10, where “anti-India” slogans were allegedly raised.

The police produced Geelani before Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh and sought two-day police custody. Police submitted to the court that Geelani’s custody was required to identify and confront him with those who were involved in “anti-India slogans demanding independence of Kashmir” and present at the event.

The Delhi Police told the court that Geelani has said he can identify those present at the event who were involved in “anti-India sloganeering”.

However, arguing against this, Geelani’s defence counsel Satish Tamta said his client had made “no such disclosure” to the police and “cannot point out anything”.

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“I was the convenor of the event and my presence is not disputed. Some people were involved in sloganeering and I cannot be held responsible for that. The entry to this event was open to everyone. I have not made any disclosure to the police. I cannot point out anything. My custody would serve no purpose,” Tamta argued on behalf of Geelani.

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“The banners which were placed at the event showed Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs and contained anti-national slogans. We need to confront Geelani with those persons who put those banners,” said police.

They submitted that Geelani booked the hall through Ali Javed, a member of PCI, while the booking form also named one Mudasir.

“He says he does not know about these people. We need to confront him with these people. We have also accessed CCTV footage in which some unidentified persons were seen shouting slogans and Geelani is required for the purpose of their identification,” said the police.

However, the defence argued that all the booking records were in possession of the PCI and as per the FIR, a showcause notice was issued to Javed regarding the event.

After hearing the submissions, the court said, “… The accused has said that he can identify those who raised anti-India slogans… Since he (Geelani) was the convener of the meeting, therefore, the case of grant of police custody is made out. Police custody granted for two days.”

Plea in SC seeks contempt action
A plea seeking contempt action against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, Geelani and few others was filed in Supreme Court Tuesday, alleging that they termed the execution of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru as “judicial killing”. The plea was filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda.