The Delhi Police on Wednesday opposed JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail plea in the Delhi High Court, saying that “if the petitioner is released on bail, it would send a wrong signal to the students’ community across the country that such anti-India activities can be conducted with immunity”.
In a 12-page status report on its investigation, the police said Kumar had “helped organise” the February 9 event where alleged anti-national slogans were raised. They also said they were looking into “linkages” between the JNUSU president and “foreign elements”.
The Delhi High Court, meanwhile, adjourned the bail plea hearing of Kumar, arrested on sedition charges, to February 29 after the Delhi Police said they will seek further police remand to interrogate him.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Delhi Police, informed the bench of Justice Pratibha Rani that the police would move an application seeking Kumar’s police remand for the third time so they can bring him face-to-face with JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who surrendered on Tuesday night.
Allowing the police to move a remand application before the appropriate trial court, the judge observed that she did not want “even one scratch” on “any of them” and that she would be “monitoring” the situation.
All three students face charges of sedition for raising alleged anti-national slogans on the campus.
Kumar is currently in judicial custody till March 2. According to police, Kumar’s custody is required to confront him with Khalid and Bhattacharya and “unearth any larger conspiracy”.
The court deferred the hearing to February 29 after Kumar’s advocates Kapil Sibal and Rebecca John requested that it be postponed as they would oppose the police remand application.
“As a law abiding citizen of the country, I will not obstruct the due process of law,” said John, after the ASG said the police had a statutory right to seek custody during the prescribed time, which would expire on February 27.
“Since two JNU students surrendered last night, we need to confront them with Kanhaiya,” Mehta said.
The judge, in her order issued in the evening, directed the police to inform Kumar’s lawyers regarding the time and place of filing the custody application.
The bench also directed the Delhi High Court Registrar General to depute a Metropolitan Magistrate to conduct the remand proceedings in a “safe place” for all three students. The court also directed that the time and place of the remand proceedings be kept “confidential” to “avoid any unpleasant incident as well to ensure the safety of the petitioner”.
In the status report opposing Kumar’s bail plea, the police alleged that the “presence and active role of Kanhaiya” had been “established” by the investigation conducted so far. The police also claimed that the “unlawful assembly” of students had raised “anti-national and anti-constitutional” slogans.
Claiming that Kumar “did not cooperate at all during the course of the interrogation”, police said that “JNU staff and other witnesses present” had told the police that the organisers of the February 9 event had “made preparations” to hold the event “in connivance” with Kumar. Police said this was done even after university authorities cancelled permission for a poetry reading “cultural function” following complaints that the posters for the event referred to the “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt”.
Police claimed Kumar “not only participated” but also “helped organise” the protest. They also alleged that “student leaders, including the petitioner (Kumar), addressed the unlawful assembly”.
The police also claimed that posters and pamphlets distributed on the campus on February 8 and 9 would “itself fall within the mischief of the substantive offence punishable under section 124 A IPC”.
The report also stated that it was “an open secret that the aforesaid conduct of holding an event on February 9 has not only ramification within India, it has an international impact as well”.
The report also claimed that the investigation was looking into a “larger conspiracy” as records of the agitation had revealed presence of “foreign elements” with their “mouth covered”.
Police also said they were “examining the CCTV footage” to investigate “whether any person with a possible anti-national background entered and/or stayed in the complex which may have a direct nexus with the commencement of possible anti-India movement in the country since some persons hiding their face are found to be present”.
“If the petitioner is released on bail, it would send a wrong signal to the students’ community across the country that such anti-India activities can be conducted with immunity and eventually one comes out after imprisonment of a couple of weeks/days,” the police said.
They also said that if Kumar is released on bail, “he may create law and order problems by conducting meetings in his support, hampering arrest of other accused persons”.
The police also claimed that Kumar “may become a rallying point to encourage such anti-India movements which would not only spread disaffection but would also be contemptuous since the conviction recorded by the Supreme Court is being termed judicial killing”.
Kumar was arrested and charged with sedition on February 12 after an event held in JNU against the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Reacting to the status report, John said it was “completely contrary to every available piece of evidence”. “We will be filing a detailed reply to this status report. It is completely illogical and inconsistent with the evidence on record,” said John.