The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Wednesday issued notice to the secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, chief secretary of the Delhi government, the Delhi police commissioner and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) registrar, seeking a report on the arrest of JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and increased police presence on JNU campus.
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Citing a news report of February 13 pertaining to the arrest of Kumar on charges of sedition, the commission observed, “It is reported that the president of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University Students ‘ Union was arrested on the charge of sedition after allegedly raising anti-India slogans. However, the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, has denied the allegations, stating that he went to the spot only to intervene in a clash between two groups. It is also alleged that police is mindlessly patrolling the campus and students are being witch-hunted and demonised for doing nothing.”
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In the notice, which comes four days after Kumar’s arrest, the commission also mentioned the wide coverage the issue had received in the print and the electronic media.
“It is widely alleged that the action of the police was illegal and high-handed and was an attempt to suppress freedom of speech and expression in academic institutions. It is also alleged that the charge of sedition was falsely added to intimidate those who dissent,” observed the NHRC.
After issuing notice to the four authorities, the commission has sought a report within two weeks.