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In UP, college students booked for sedition, principal cites azadi slogans

As per Principal N D Pandey, "indecent and anti-national slogans like Le ke rahenge azadi" were raised on the college premises on December 16.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow | Updated: December 28, 2020 1:54:42 pm
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Six persons, including students of government-run K S Saket Degree College in Ayodhya district, have been booked for sedition after the college principal lodged a complaint accusing them of raising “anti-national slogans calling (for) azadi”.

As per Principal N D Pandey, “indecent and anti-national slogans like Le ke rahenge azadi” were raised on the college premises on December 16.

With the Ramjanmabhoomi site nearby, he told The Indian Express, he needed to look out for “such anti-national activities” and couldn’t allow slogans “that are raised at Jawaharlal Nehru University”.

The students say they were only protesting against the non-conduct of union elections at the college, and their slogans were directed at the principal and the chief proctor.

Started in 1991, K S Saket College has around 10,000 students.

An FIR was lodged against the six, Sumit Tewari, Shesh Narayan Pandey, Imran Hashmi, Satwik Pandey, Mohit Yadav and Manoj Mishra, on December 18. They were booked under IPC Sections 124-A (sedition), 147 (rioting) and 506 (criminal intimidation), apart from charges of obstructing public servants. Inspector, Ayodhya Police Station, Ashutosh Mishra said they were investigating the matter. “Everything will become clear during the probe. We will be scanning CCTV footage, videos. If an offence is made out, action will be taken accordingly.”

The complaint by the principal says, “The admission process and classes have been ongoing at the college since December 7. During this, some outsiders, anti-social elements and so-called leaders started a protest demanding student elections. On December 16, these students entered the college and locked the main gate and misbehaved with teachers, college administration and students. They interrupted classes… They were raising indecent and anti-national slogans like le kar rahenge azadi. Due to the incident, there is anger and fear among the students of the college.”

Abhaas Krishna Yadav, who is doing M.Com and was elected student union president in 2018, said: “The protesting students were only saying that they want azadi from the principal and chief proctor. Now, the principal has used that and is saying they were raising anti-national slogans.”

Yadav questioned the administration’s logic for the cancellation of the student union polls. “Last year, the elections could not be held due to the Ram Mandir issue and no one raised their voice as it was a sensitive matter. This year, the students are protesting because the elections have been cancelled while polling is happening across the country. When classes can be held, then why can’t elections be held for the student union?”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Principal Pandey said, “Students had raised anti-national slogans that are raised at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi… that they will fight for azadi. What kind of azadi do they want? They wanted elections, we are still in the process of admissions. How can elections be held?”

Linking the matter to the Ram temple, Pandey added. “This is such a sensitive place in Ayodhya, barely 500 metres from the Janmabhoomi. We need to look out for anti-national activities.”

He refused to clarify who among the six he filed an FIR against were students of the college. “I can’t tell you who are current students, but some of the six are students, while some are former students and some are outsiders,” Pandey said.

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