Bassi asks 5 accused JNU students to prove innocence
New Delhi: Under severe attack for handling of the JNU row, police was on Monday cautious in dealing with five students accused of sedition, a day after they resurfaced at the campus even as the varsity authorities were undecided on asking them to surrender before the law enforcing agency.
On their part, the students said they will not surrender as charges against them were false while Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi asked them to join investigations and prove their innocence.
A meeting of the top JNU officials, chaired by vice-chancellor Jagdesh Kumar, deliberated on return of the five students to the campus after being in hiding for 10 days but could not take a decision whether police should be allowed to enter the campus to arrest them or the students should be asked to surrender.
The five students, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, JNUSU general secretary Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakash had gone missing from the campus since February 12 after JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-India slogans in a controversial event at the campus.
The vice-chancellor also met a delegation of over 300 teachers from the varsity, who raised four demands including removal of the officiating Registrar Bhupinder Zutshi, for allegedly mishandling the issue.
While the students did not meet the vice-chancellor, JNUSU submitted a memorandum to him, appealing to him to raise the matter with police and “get” the sedition charges dropped against them.
“The police has not issued any summons to us. We were in hiding because of the fear of being mob-lynched considering the way Kanhaiya was attacked in court,” Naga said.
Earlier, Bassi met lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung and briefed him about the JNU row.
“I would say if the police are looking for them then they should join the police investigation. And if they are innocent, they should present evidence of their innocence,” Bassi said.
Police teams were rushed to campus on Sunday night following information that the five students were spotted at the varsity premises. However the cops kept waiting outside the main gate for the vice-chancellor to give a go ahead for their entry into the campus.
Naga said it was already clear that the video based on which sedition charges were made against Kanhaiya and five others were fake and that they were never involved in anti-India activities.
“Why our name has been included in the FIR? Because we have been fighting against the government’s policies. The message is clear that if we raise our voice against then, we will be branded anti-national,” he said.