A Delhi court Thursday sent Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, currently lodged in Tihar jail, to one-day police custody for the purpose of interrogation. Kumar is facing charges of sedition over an event on JNU campus on February 9, to mark the third anniversary of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, during which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen, who conducted the remand proceedings inside Tihar jail, allowed the Delhi Police’s plea seeking Kanhaiya’s custody. Kumar has been lodged in Tihar since he was remanded to 14-day judicial custody.
In their plea, police said Kanhaiya’s custody was needed to “confront him” with JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, for the purpose of investigation, said sources.
Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested on charges of sedition and sent to three-day police custody Wednesday.
The Delhi Police had moved an application for the production warrant of Kumar, saying he needed to be “confronted” with the other two students as there were inconsistencies in their statements on the event.
Opposing the plea, the defence pointed out that Delhi Police already had Kumar in their custody for five days, to interrogate him. Kanhaiya belonged to a different student wing in the university and there was no connection between him and the other two students, said the defence.
Kumar’s counsel also moved a plea before the court, seeking safety of the voice samples recorded by police during his custody. His defence counsel said that in view of the “doctored video” of the JNU event, aired by various news channels, Kumar’s voice samples must be placed in safe custody.
Earlier in the day, in a separate hearing, Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen dismissed a police plea seeking permission to collect voice samples of Khalid and Bhattacharya.
On why police needed Kumar’s custody again, a police officer said, “As of now, several things are not clear… We want to ascertain their role in the event”.
During questioning of the JNU students, it was revealed that students of a central university were also present at the event, said police sources. “We are planning to question professors and friends of the JNU students as well,” said the officer.