JNU Row: SC Orders Police To Ensure Safety At Kanhaiya Kumar's Hearing

17/02/2016 8:43 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

The Supreme Court today directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to ensure adequate security at the Patiala House court complex where JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, charged with sedition, is to be produced before a metropolitan magistrate.

The apex court ordered that there will be restricted entry of people which will include the lawyers for the accused and prosecution, in the court room during the proceedings relating to the remand of Kanhaiya whose extended police custody of two days is expiring today.

Besides the presence of lawyers of both sides, the bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said that the two family members of the accused, if present, will be allowed in the court room, otherwise one faculty member of JNU and a student would be allowed on behalf of the accused. The bench also restricted the entry of mediapersons inside the court room during the proceeding by limiting it to five journalists.

It said that 25 journalists would be allowed to enter the compound and all the entries would be allowed only after proper identification and verification. The apex court asked the Delhi High Court Registrar General to be present in the Patiala House court complex for verification of people or group of people who have been allowed access to the court room and its compound.

It, however, said that the directions given by it were limited to only today.

The bench was informed that administrative committee of the Delhi High Court will meet at 2 PM today to analyse and peruse the report of the District Judge who was asked to prepare the account of the incident that had taken place on February 15 at the Patiala House court where the lawyers had thrashed students, teachers and journalists who were present in connection with the Kanhaiya Kumar case.

The petition filed by ND Jaiprakash, an alumnus of JNU, who was hurt in the violence, sought action against the people involved in the violence and over "inaction" on the part of Delhi Police. Men dressed as lawyers and chanting patriotic slogans thrashed many members of the media present at the courthouse on Monday, accusing them of being "anti-nationals".

The petition also sought a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi Police to take preventive measures so that no violence takes place either inside the court room or within the court complex and the safety of journalists and lawyers ensured, reported the Indian Express.

BJP MLA OP Sharma was also seen in media footage assaulting Communist Party of India (CPI) minority wing leader Ameeq Jamei.

The Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Singh Bassi today told media that there were outsiders present on the JNU campus the day a students' group held an event to protest the hanging of Afzal Guru.

"We are collecting evidence. We don't have prejudice against anyone," Bassi said.

In a new twist to the ongoing state-vs-students war at JNU, inputs from security agencies seemed to have suggested that Kumar may not have raised anti-national slogans or made an inflammatory speech at the JNU event. Home Ministry officials have suggested that slapping of the serious charge of sedition against Kumar could be an act of "over enthusiasm" on the part of some Delhi Police officers.

Meanwhile, in an interview to CNN-IBN, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, sought to play down the violence at the court house.

"But there was a murder? I don't know. But I'm sure that police will take action. I have not gone into detail of that particular incident. What I'm saying there may be physical fight, it will not amount to sedition," he told the channel.

The Delhi Police had apparently alerted JNU authorities about the 9 February event to protest the hanging of Parliament attack terrorist Afzal Guru and its "possible repercussions".

The report also mentioned that 18 students, including Kumar, were "present" at the event which included a march from Sabarmati dhaba to Ganga dhaba around 7.30 PM and, in an hour, the crowd had dispersed "peacefully". The police, in its report, had said they got to know about the event on the morning of 9 February when they came across the posters inside the campus, following which "JNU authorities were alerted about the programme and its possible repercussions," sources told PTI.

According to report, some students were alleged to have indulged in "unwanted activity" in the garb of a cultural evening. They shouted anti-India slogans and also those in support of freedom of Jammu and Kashmir.

"The authorities, even the office of the V-C, had no idea that the programme had nothing to do with cultural activities. They were timely alerted and the permission was denied," they said.

In another report filed on 12 February, the police said as many as 16 JNU students, including a former JNUSU president, were under the scanner after they received specific inputs.

(With inputs from PTI)

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