Kanhaiya Kumar was kicked and punched by men in lawyers’ robes who came prepared, with two of the attackers even entering the court room, according to the transcript of a 20-minute video of the JNU student leader’s deposition before a Supreme Court-appointed panel.
Transcripts of the panel’s inquiries on February 17, the day of the assault, also show a senior Delhi Police officer first denying that any attack had taken place inside the court and later passing the buck to an “escort party” of policemen from “other district”.
One of the two attackers inside the court even challenged the policemen, when he was identified by Kumar, and walked out as they looked on, according to the transcripts.
Following the probe, the six-member panel informed Supreme Court this week that the policemen present at the Patiala House Courts complex when the assault took place were responsible for the lapses that led to the incident.
The panel said that despite being aware of the Supreme Court’s directions on providing adequate security to Kumar, police let two persons enter the court room and continued to let the assault take place inside and outside.
Kumar was assaulted ahead of a hearing on his police custody following his arrest on sedition charges. He was arrested on sedition charges from the JNU campus on February 12 for his role in organising an event three days earlier during which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised while protesting the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s writ petition
Breaking down while describing his assault, Kumar told the panel: “Inside the gate, a mob, dressed in advocates’ attire, attacked me. As a result, I fell down… It seemed as if they were waiting with full preparation to attack since from among the people who were beating me, some were calling others by shouting ‘he has come…he has come’. On the way, some motorbikes were falling, sometimes I was falling on it.”
Kumar added: “While entering the court premises near the X-ray machine, I was pushed inside in such a manner that my pants came down. Thereafter my t-shirt and sandals also came out. My leg was injured and I was kicked and punched in my abdomen… As soon as I managed to rescue myself from the clutches of one person, another person would start beating me up.”
Speaking about the attacker who entered the court room, Kumar said: “One of them chased me and managed to get inside the adjoining room and went and sat behind. I told my teacher that this man was beating me. Thereafter, the police asked the man to identify himself. However, he questioned the police instead, asking who they were and asked for their identity cards. He could have been nabbed right there. I told them that ‘sir, this man was beating me’.”
The video also shows the panel members scolding Delhi Police DCP Jatin Narwal and other officers for the lapses that led to the assault.
In the video, Dave is seen asking Narwal: “Your men were posted everywhere… so what were they doing, sleeping?”
At first, Narwal said that the “assault didn’t take place here… Inside nahi hua (It did not happen inside the court room)”, and that “it happened, somewhere on the road”.
Asked by Sibal about how two attackers entered the court room, Narwal said: “The moment I got to know that… two persons sitting inside were the attackers, I ran to arrest them.”
The video shows the panel members questioning police inspectors Sushil Kumar and Virender Jain who had accompanied Kumar. Both claimed that they were unaware about the attack.
When Dave warned Narwal that the panel would recommend the suspension of “all these officers”, the DCP responded: “We had made our arrangements but since the escort party was from other district…”
Kumar’s lawyer Vrinda Grover told the panel that one of the attackers who entered the court room was “wearing dark glasses” and “a black coat” while clarifying that “it was not a lawyer’s coat”.
“Nobody stops him. How did that man came in through the security and how did he exit?” asked Grover.