JNU row: Suspense over arrest of Umar Khalid, others continues; Bassi says students must prove innocence

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on Monday met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and briefed him about the JNU row, for which the force drew severe criticism from several quarters.

Written by Aditi Vatsa , Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi | Updated: February 23, 2016 4:03 am
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Hours after five JNU students, against whom a lookout notice had been issued by Delhi Police, surfaced on the campus, Delhi Police chief B S Bassi said if the students were innocent, they should produce evidence.

“Police are looking for them, they should join the probe. If they are innocent, they should produce evidence. Delhi Police is a law-abiding body and we do not indulge in any injustice against anyone…,” he said Monday.

On the “doctored videos” doing the rounds in the media and authenticity of the those which police have probed, Bassi said, “We always verify whatever footage we use in a probe. The footage in our possession have been sent for verification.”

Earlier in the day, Bassi also met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and briefed him about the incident.

 

Meanwhile, JNU turned into a fortress as students gathered at the administration block while police kept vigil outside the gates.

Senior university officials once again said they had not had any interaction with the police. JNU Registrar Bupinder Zutshi said, “Police have not approached us or sought permission for entry into the campus. We have not had any interaction with the police since the students surfaced.”

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The five students — Anirban Bhattacharya, Umar Khalid, Ashutosh, Rama Naga and Anant Prakash — who turned up in JNU late Sunday night remained at the administration block, surrounded by around 20 campus security guards, friends and teachers.

At 3 pm, JNUTA members met the vice-chancellor and submitted a list of demands. Expressing shock at the role of the administration, JNUTA general secretary Bikramaditya Choudhary said, “The role that the administration has played since the beginning… has been shocking. Not only did the administration not stand up in defence of the university, but it became a willing instrument of the attack on JNU.”

“… After first surrendering the university’s autonomy by giving police full access to the campus and to the university’s records, the administration began a parallel process of victimising students already being targeted by police,” said Choudhary.

The students’ union and JNUTA continued to underline their demands — sedition and criminal conspiracy charges against all JNU students be dropped, expansion of the inquiry committee, no police presence on campus.

Historian and JNU faculty member Aditya Mukherjee, said, “The entire JNUTA has been standing up not for the slogans that were raised but the right of students to have an opinion. By naming specific teachers who have been active in politics for years and suggesting they are colluding in sinister act is gross misrepresentation of facts…”

Meanwhile, members of the right-wing students’ group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) accused the administration and some JNU teachers of backing students. “Police should be allowed to conduct their investigation and action should be taken against the accused. We have received information that some teachers were backing these students and provided them shelter. This is a serious issue and an inquiry should be conducted,” said Alok Singh, JNU ABVP unit president.

The inquiry panel formed by the varsity to look into the issue asked the authorities for a week’s extension to submit the report, which was granted.