The fact-finding report on the alleged anti-national sloganeering that took place on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on February 9, sought by the AAP government, was completed and submitted to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday.
The report, sources said, indicated that there was nothing to support the claim that JNU Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who was booked for sedition and released on bail 19 days after his arrest, was involved in shouting ‘anti-national’ slogans on campus. In case of JNU student Umar Khalid, who is facing the same charges, the report, sources claimed, states that his involvement is “difficult to prove” though he is visible in two video clips.
Sources, however, said the three allegedly doctored video clips under the government’s scanner include two that were circulated on the internet and one aired by India News, a Hindi news channel. The channel has denied the claim.
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The government had sent seven video clips for forensic testing to the Truth Lab in Hyderabad. Sources said that three of these clips were tampered with and certain ‘words were inserted’ in the audio. The Indian Express has learnt that in one of the three clips showing Kumar shouting slogans, the word ‘bandook (gun)’ was inserted. In the video clip, Kumar is heard saying, “Bandook ke dum par….Azadi.” However, after examination, it was found that the word bandook was inserted in the audio of the clip, sources said.
In an order issued on February 13, Sisodia had stated, “It is necessary to inquire into the incident and bring out a factual report… it is hereby ordered that the District Magistrate, New Delhi, will inquire into the incident and submit a factual report to the government in 15 days.”
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Sources said that the fact-finding exercise had been completed and a 27-page report with 21 annexures was submitted to the government on Wednesday evening. The annexures include video transcripts, witness statements and pages from the JNU entry register. According to the entries in it, a journalist with Zee News had entered the campus to meet ABVP joint-secretary Saurabh Sharma at 5.20 pm on February 9 .“I had sent a press release saying we would be protesting against the event to all media houses around 4 pm. When they reached the gate that day, they called me… as I was the one who had sent the press release,” said Sharma.
He added, “The timing of their entry is after the generic message I had sent to everyone. If there was some special arrangement with them, I would have called them earlier.”
Clashes between a section of students from Left organisations and the ABVP had taken place last year as well, said sources, adding that the presence of TV news channels on campus that day made a big difference to the events on February 9.
The fact-finding report, sources said, stated that the Delhi Police ‘may be in doubt’ about slogans like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ being shouted on the JNU campus. The report, however, complimented the police for handling the case well on February 9 and ensuring that nobody was hurt.
A 38-second video aired on India News, with clear footage and no interruptions, was also examined. However, it was aired by other channels as well. Sources said that this video was also found to be ‘doctored’.
Responding to the report, India News editor-in-chief Deepak Chaurasia said in a text message, “We have not run any doctored video.”