Even though two years have passed since a sedition case was lodged against Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students over an event in which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell is yet to file a chargesheet. Following the commencement of the event on February 9, 2016, three students of the university, including the then students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, were arrested. They, however, were granted bail soon after. The others named in the FIR in the case were Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.
Police sources told The Indian Express that investigation into the case is almost done and that they are awaiting forensic reports of mobile phone and laptop data belonging to some of the suspects. Sources said they have also completed questioning the suspects in the case, including eight students from Kashmir, who allegedly promoted the sloganeering. Senior police officers, however, said they are yet to verify all the evidence that have been collected.
A case in the matter was registered at Vasant Kunj North police station on February 11, 2016, under IPC Section 124A (sedition). The case was later transferred to the Special Cell. A police officer said that during investigation, two more IPC sections – 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly) – were added.
When contacted for a comment, DCP (Special Cell) Pramod Kushwaha refused to divulge details of the case. Sources said it is likely that apart from the three named in the FIR, more people might be named in the chargesheet.
In April this year, the Special Cell had served a notice to JNU asking 30 of its students to join the probe. The notice was addressed to the JNU vice-chancellor.
The students asked to join the probe included AISA’s Shehla Rashid and AISF’s Aparajitha Raja. Rashid told The Indian Express that they were asked questions like ‘have you ever been to Kashmir?’, ‘have you ever met a Kashmiri terrorist?’. I replied accordingly. There were a few direct questions as well.”