On the day that Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU students’ union president facing ‘sedition’ charges was granted bail by the Delhi High Court, the District Magistrate (DM), New Delhi arrived at the conclusion that the role of co-accused Umar Khalid in the events that transpired on the JNU campus on February 9, needs to be investigated further.
A 112-page report titled ‘Fact finding Report on the incident of raising of anti-national slogans in JNU Campus on 9 Feb 2016’ submitted to the Delhi government by District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar stated that ‘nothing adverse’ could be found against Kanhaiya and no witness or available video could support the allegations made against him.
In case of Khalid, however, the DM wrote, “Umar Khalid was visible in many videos. His support for the role of Kashmir and Afzal Guru is known and he was the organiser of the event. His role needs to be further investigated.”
The report stated that Khalid had organised the protest despite objections raised by the JNU security. “His opinion on Kashmir and Afzal are known. He is part of the DSU (Democratic Students Union) and earlier conducted similar programs where sometimes permissions were cancelled or fine was imposed,” the report stated.
Khalid, the report stated, was one of the main organisers of the events that took place on February 9.
“Though hardly visible from any side, many security guards have identified his voice to be the first emerged from the crowd. I have shown the video of this footage to two-three witnesses, here they claim that first voice resembles that of Umar Khalid, thereafter, second voice is of Anirban and then Ashutosh. It could be presumed that Umar Khalid was the first speaker and initial slogans were raised by him, which were ‘Kashmir ki janta sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai….Kashmir ki mahilaon sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai’.”
About Anirban Bhattacharya and Ashutosh Kumar the report stated that “they possibly would have said,” Kitne Afzal maroge…har ghar se Afzal niklega and University Prashasan khabardar…Zor lagaa ke halla bol.”
The DM’s report also stated that Khalid had confronted the JNU security guard Amarjit Singh after he was told that the permission for the event to be held at the Sabarmati Dhaba at 5 pm was withdrawn by the vice-chancellor.
After Khalid said that he would still go ahead with the program, the DM”s report stated that he and his associates pasted posters and set up a mike. After there was a confrontation between the security team and Khalid and his associates, about 10-15 students gathered near the Sabarmati Dhaba and shouted slogans. “Many students were from outside university especially some Kashmiri students join this group,” the report stated.
Many students who protested on the JNU campus on February 9 were ‘outsiders’, the DM inferred. He stated “It may be difficult to arrive conclusively whether other four students (Kanhaiya, Khalid, Anirban and Ashutosh) have shouted anti-national slogans or not but it was visible and heard beyond doubt that ‘these outsiders and possibly Kashmiri students’ were heard raising anti-national slogans. They should be identified for further investigation.”
Of the witnesses examined by the DM, Amarjeet Singh, a guard with G4S, had earlier said that he had heard Khalid shouting slogans like Bandook se lenge azaadi and Indian Army murdabad. But when he was shown a muted video clip in which, he claimed, Khalid had shouted the slogans.He pointed out the time at which Khalid shouted the slogans. However,. When the DM put the volume on, no such slogans were heard. “He retracted his statement and changed his earlier written statement. He admitted that they have memorised the Daily Diary entry for the sake of originality and authenticity. In his second statement he retracted hearing anyone specifically uttering those words,” the DM noted.
Devender Singh Bisht, Manager, G4S had also said he had heard Khalid shout slogans like Afzal Zindabad and Bandook se lenge azaadi but later he attributed these slogans to the crowd in general and not Khalid specifically.
Of the seven video clips examined by the DM, three were found to be doctored. One of doctored video was found in the URL — https://twitter.com.shilpitewari/status/70088979048964208?s=09. The video was titled ‘Proof Against Kanhaiya’ and the examination showed that it was “not authentic as the audio and video streams are from different sources.”
In another video titled ‘Very shocking & Disturbing Video From JNU #Shame.mp4’ which was also found doctored by the DM, the report stated, the word ‘Bandook’ could have been inserted and “there are other serious editing”.
About a 38-second TV news channel clip, the DM wrote,
“it was a doctored video with possible intention to misguide public.”
The DM explained how he selected the videos that were examined. He stated that he did not ask the public for different videos “to avoid any further public attention towards this issue.” He stated that he had received a Twitter link from a reporter as “alleged proof of involvement of Kanhaiya’s role in the whole incident.” He stated, “As I could not get any other video as proof against Kanhaiya, I also sought to get this examined.”
The seven videos that Kumar examined were selected for “the clarity of the content and their representational values to a particular point of view.”
Kumar wrote in his report that anti-national slogans were raised on JNU campus. “JNU administration has identified few faces who were clearly heard raising anti-India slogans. Whereabouts of them should be found out and their role must be investigated further,” Kumar wrote in the report.
The Delhi government will send the report to its legal team for views about further steps to be taken in the matter.