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JNU Row: Why plan to keep Kanhaiya Kumar safe during court hearing didn’t work

According to sources in Delhi Police, lack of coordination between two district units of Delhi Police may have led to the incident.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi | Updated: February 19, 2016 1:01:33 pm
Kanhaiya Kumar, head of the student's union at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), is escorted by police outside the Patiala House court in New Delhi, February 17, 2016. Fighting broke out on Wednesday around Delhi's Patiala House court hearing a case against Kumar accused of sedition, a charge that has sparked protests across university campuses and criticism the government was curtailing free speech.Express Photo BY- Praveen Khanna Kanhaiya Kumar, head of the student’s union at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), is escorted by police outside the Patiala House court in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

The attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar in Patiala House Courts complex Wednesday took place despite the presence of several policemen and extensive planning by senior officers to avoid precisely such an incident.

According to sources in Delhi Police, lack of coordination between two district units of Delhi Police may have led to the incident.

On that day, Additional Deputy Commissioner (South) Sanjay Bhatia had been deployed at gate no. 3, along with two ACPs and seven inspector-rank officers, said sources.

Watch Video: What Delhi Police’s Failure To Ensure Order At The Patiala House Court Tells Us

“The policemen, in riot gear, had formed a human chain at gate no. 3. Bhatia had sent three messages on the wireless set, asking the policemen escorting Kumar to enter via that gate,” said sources.

“The van in which Kumar was being brought to the court was escorted by several vehicles. DCP (south) Prem Nath, along with ACP (operations) Rajendra Singh, were in these vehicles, as well as personnel from the special task force (STF), who were in riot gear,” said sources.

But due to a miscommunication between the police units, and lack of space at gate no. 3, Kumar was taken to gate no. 5, where only a few security personnel were deployed, said sources.

While the van entered the court premises from gate no. 5, the scores of policemen deployed at gate no. 3 continued to wait there, as they had not received any order from their seniors to move to the other gate, they said.

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“Soon, it was realised that Kumar did not have adequate security, and ACP Singh, along with STF personnel, stepped forward to rescue him from the crowd,” added sources.

Later, when it was time for Kumar to be escorted out of the court premises, Delhi Police still didn’t have a concrete plan in place to save him from a group of lawyers,who were getting ready for another assault, said sources.

Initially, police officers tried to reason with the crowd and discussed the matter with judges and senior lawyers. When they could not find a way to take Kumar out of the complex safely, 30 police officers had to dress up in anti-riot gear to mislead the attackers, said sources.

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