The Ministry of Home Affairs has hinted that the sedition charges against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar may have to be dropped. According to various reports, MHA officials have told reporters that the Delhi Police doesn't have proof to establish that the student leader had indulged in seditious activities.
"In a recent communication to the home ministry, the Delhi Police informed that the audio in the footage on the alleged incident received by them was of poor quality and that they have sought forensic opinion on it," Economic Times reports.
Delhi Police has now reportedly reached out to television channels to access raw footage of Kumar's speech, to examine if he at all chanted anti-India slogans.
A MHA official told The Hindu, "There is some video footage available with the police, but the audio component is missing. It is not clear whether Kanhaiya actually shouted anti-national slogans. If there is no evidence, then the Delhi Police will have to drop the sedition charge when the charge sheet is filed."
Delhi Police chief BS Bassi had earlier claimed that they had ample proof to pin sedition charges on Kumar. However, it appears that the police don't actually have conclusive proof against Kumar.
For a majority of people who watched Kumar's speech shortly before he was arrested, the sedition charges had indeed come as a shock. Especially because Kumar's speech was peppered with sentences like, "We are from this country. We love its soil. We work for its poor."
However, they were followed up with lines such as these: "If anyone raises a finger at our constitution, be it the Sanghis, be it anyone else, we won't tolerate it. But the constitution taught in Nagpur, we have no faith in it." Nagpur is the RSS' headquarters.
Two days after 'lawyers' in Patiala House Court attacked journalists, students and teachers, they heckled and beat up Kumar while he was being escorted into the Patiala House court for a hearing. Later in the evening, it was reported that Kumar was being beaten up and terrorised inside the jail too.
If a detainee is not safe in a court a mile from PMO, home ministry, Rashtrapati Bhawan, it's great national shame https://t.co/UFwTTMK7aZ
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) February 17, 2016
However, Bassi denied that Kumar was beaten up even in the court premises, which happened in full public view. Speaking to the media, he said, "No no, I don't think he was beaten up." In fact, he dismissed the issue as a 'lot of jostling'. He added that 'considering the issue', there were a lot of people in the court, which resulted in a lot of jostling.
Bassi, who had initially, dismissed the attack on journalists too saying 'excesses' had been committed by both sides, is now facing the heat for inaction. The opposition parties have demanded that BS Bassi be sacked immediately. Congress has demanded that the Delhi Police chief, who is set to retire soon, be not given post-retirement assignments.
"Bassi, who is due to retire this month-end, is one of the applicants for the post of Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission. The selection panel is headed by the Prime Minister, a Cabinet Minister nominated by the PM and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. Since, there is no Leader of the Opposition in the lower house, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has been included in the panel," reports The Indian Express.
JNU students protesting.
Lawyer and activist Vrinda Grover, who was present at the venue when Kumar was attacked, was shocked to see that even in the presence of senior police officials, Kanhaiya was attacked at the gate of the courtroom.
"That person attacked him and he was being allowed to go outside freely by the police. This is a violation of the Supreme Court's order and the court should record it in its order sheet as well," she said.
Grover also requested the court that Kumar's statement should be recorded after which the magistrate asked Kanhaiya to write his statement on a plain paper.
As Kanhaiya was writing his statement, his counsel moved an application seeking direction to the Tihar Jail authorities to ensure proper safety and security of his client in the prison.
To this, the magistrate said, "I am noting down your concern and I will pass an appropriate order."
Meanwhile, Kumar's counsel told the court that another of their applications seeking electronic evidence should be heard on another day after which the magistrate fixed the plea for hearing on March 2.
"Keeping in view the situation outside the courtroom as well as the statement given, it is directed that the DCP concern shall ensure the safety of the accused till his transporation to the jail. The jail superintendent is directed to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of the accused in the jail and a compliance report be filed by the DCP tomorrow," the judge said
With inputs from PTI
Also see on HuffPost: